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California To Dramatically Ramp Up Testing for COVID-19

Blue Shield of California's Paul Markovich named co-chair of task force that aims to increase daily testing by five-fold by the end of April

California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a new task force involving leading health experts to dramatically increase capacity and improve turnaround times for COVID-19 testing in the state. The task force’s immediate goal is to achieve a five-fold increase in daily testing for Californians per day by the end of April 2020. To support this effort, numerous new testing sites will be established throughout the state so every Californian can reach a testing site within one hour.

The task force will be co-chaired Blue Shield of California President and CEO Paul Markovich and California Department of Public Health Assistant Director Charity Dean, M.D., M.P.H.

“I want to see hundreds and hundreds of thousands of tests. I want all Californians to get tested,” Gov. Newsom said during his noon, Saturday, April 4, media briefing. “We need to do more testing to get people back in the workforce. It has to increase exponentially.”

Paul Markovich and other Blue Shield executives are leaning in to be a part of the public health solution to help protect all Californians from this pandemic.

“This is a critically important project to help keep Californians safe and healthy,” said Markovich. “We need to test extensively and effectively to contain this virus, and we need to speed up the turnaround times so we know the full scope of the problem and how to control the risks.” 

Blue Shield has announced that it is waiving member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, and also waiving members’ coinsurance, copayments and deductibles for COVID-19 medical treatments through May 31, 2020. Blue Shield previously announced it was waiving member cost sharing for telehealth services through Teladoc during the COVID-19 crisis.

For more information on the task force, please see the news release issued April 4.