National Testing Supply Shortage Impacting County Testing Capabilities

By on July 9, 2020

San Bernardino County announced last night that for the immediate short term they will be limiting COVID-19 testing in response to severe supply chain disruptions. The County hopes to resume its expanded testing regime by next week, once it obtains adequate testing supplies.

“There have been concerns about testing supply shortages throughout the state and within our county,” said Interim County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. “We are continuously trying to obtain the necessary resources to ensure that we can provide testing in our county at peak capacity.”

The supply shortage is not limited to San Bernardino County, but rather is affecting communities around the state and the nation. According to a recent survey by the Association for Molecular Pathology, more than 70% of U.S. clinical laboratories have suffered significant delays to COVID-19 testing programs as a result of ongoing supply chain disruptions. The organization said that the expansion of COVD-19 testing capacity at laboratories around the country has put pressure on supply chains that handle reagents and other materials used to learn whether a patient is infected.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly acknowledged the state is facing a testing supply shortage.

“As more states begin to scale their testing capabilities, new constraints are materializing within the supply chain,” Ghaly said. “Simultaneously, laboratories are becoming overwhelmed with high numbers of specimens, slowing down processing timelines.” He urged laboratories to “prioritize testing turnaround for individuals who are most at risk of spreading the virus to others.”

Those with existing appointments should check their email to learn if their appointment has been cancelled.

“Our hope is that we can obtain the necessary supplies very soon so that we can maintain our testing capacity,” Porter said. “Without a sufficient supply of tests, this will bring challenges in identifying cases and treating those who are diagnosed positive for COVID-19. Tests are necessary to identify and isolate positive cases quickly so that we can keep the virus from spreading throughout our county.”

The County will share news and updates immediately when we confirm testing supplies are adequate to meet demand.