I’d like to share some updates on Covid-19 related issues that I have been working on with our colleagues here at Blue Shield of California and in my capacity as co-chair of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Task Force on Testing with Charity Dean, M.D., assistant director, California Department of Public Health.
I am really pleased with the progress the task force has made to increase testing. We are working diligently toward our goal of facilitating 25,000 tests per day in the state, compared with 2,000 tests per day at the end of March.
Governor Newsom announced Wednesday that an additional 86 testing sites will be set up in California in the next couple of weeks, on top of an existing network of 260 sites across the state. Our goal is to increase access to testing in both rural communities and in urban settings to improve our outreach to some of California’s most vulnerable patients, including communities of color.
When operating at maximum capacity, these additional sites will increase our testing capability by more than 10,000 people a day. We are progressing toward a goal of offering more than 60,000 tests per day.
Sincere thanks to Dr. Dean and all those who have worked on this unique, public-private initiative. It is an inspiring effort.
On treatment, we are working to support the medical provider community to help them care for patients and deal with financial pressures caused by the pandemic. Our multi-point plan includes helping with advanced payments and guaranteeing loan applications for providers. We have taken many other steps to remove barriers, including paying co-pays and related costs for COVID-19 treatments.
Our own member data shows progress. When I look at the recent numbers of our members needing hospital care, it appears that we have flattened the curve and are on the other side of the apex . Despite this encouraging news about progress, it’s still more important than ever that we keep our communities safe by staying at home to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A huge thank you to Blue Shield of California staff, all our essential workers, healthcare workers and state and city officials tirelessly working to keep all Californians safe during this time.