Paso Robles News|Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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County Public Health Lab increases daily COVID-19 testing capacity to 300 

19 new cases reported Friday

— San Luis Obispo County is now producing faster COVID-19 test results for more people in high-risk situations.

The County Public Health Laboratory recently began running COVID-19 test samples through a device called the Panther, which allows public health microbiologists at the laboratory to now test up to 300 samples per day.

“Increasing our testing capacity in SLO County helps all of us,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, the County Health Officer. “One of the State’s metrics for staying open involves testing. At the same time, increased testing capacity also supports our contact tracing efforts, which we’ve recently expanded to meet our community’s growing needs.”

The lab prioritizes testing from time-sensitive and higher-risk situations, including health care workers and public health contact investigations. Fast results in these cases can help protect more people from being exposed to COVID-19 and can help connect vulnerable patients with appropriate care. The County also recently expanded its contact tracing team to meet increased need.

The County Public Health Laboratory began using the Panther to test for COVID-19 on June 12, when materials became available, and has since used it to test 786 samples.

Laboratory Director Dr. James Beebe called the Panther a “workhorse.” He said public health microbiologists only recently began using the Panther to test for COVID-19, but they use the tool daily in the diagnosis of other communicable diseases.

The county reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 between Thursday and Friday afternoon as of 1:30 p.m. Twelve people are now hospitalized, with five in the ICU.

The historical total number of cases is now at 508. The county reports 381 people have recovered from the virus, 114 are currently recovering at home. One person has died from the virus. The county reports 126 active cases. Click here for the latest statistics.

As of April 30, “Recovered” is now defined as at least three days, or 72 hours, of no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications; and, improvement in respiratory symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath; and, at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

Note: Case counts are updated once daily, Monday-Friday. Data posted each day are always preliminary and subject to change as individual case investigations are completed. Confirmed cases and detailed statistics page is not being updated on Saturdays and Sundays by the county.

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