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Sacramento County Testing Shortage Will Harm Ability To Track Increasing Spread

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento doctors are raising the alarm about a coronavirus testing shortage.

County leaders will close five testing sites temporarily because there are not enough supplies to keep them going. The sites include the Natomas Unified School District building on Arena Blvd, the South Sacramento Christian Center, Tetteh Pediatric Health, La Familia's Maple Neighborhood Center, and Roberson Community Center.

Dr. Peter Beilenson, the Sacramento County Health Director, said the concerning part about a testing shortage is that it means more people will have the virus but not know. He said the shortage is a national supply chain issue.

"Which is frankly unacceptable at this point that the federal government has not stepped in to make sure that this material Is still available," Beilenson said.

Beilenson said right now the county is doing 16,000 coronavirus tests weekly, but to properly track increased spread, he said the county should be doing more than double that — 30,000 to 50,000 tests weekly.

"The plurality of the cases are in the Latinx community. A lot of those folks have been involved in extended family outings, extending family gatherings," Beilenson said.

Lack of testing would disproportionately affect the Latino community. Beilenson warns more than 50% of new cases are coming from people 40 years old and younger. That's a problem group.

"They are more likely to be asymptomatic, not have symptoms, but that does not mean they don't spread the virus. These are folks that could be so-called super spreaders. We will have no idea if they have the virus if we don't do the tests," he said.

The bad news about testing comes after a holiday weekend both local and state leaders agree was successful.

"People were socially distancing. They were behaving smartly and virtually everybody I've visited in workplaces in stores was wearing a mask," Beilenson said.

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