Valencia could soon house lab tasked with improving CA’s COVID-19 testing capacity

FILE PHOTO Sample of a vial to be used in collecting blood samples to be tested for COVID-19. April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Valencia could soon be home to a new laboratory tasked with helping California increase its number of daily COVID-19 tests up to 150,000, officials announced Friday. 

PerkinElmer, the Massachusetts-based diagnostics company that partnered with California to improve testing efficiency and capacity, is set to open the lab as soon as Nov. 1, according to the California Hospital Association, which is a member of the state’s testing task force. 

“The partnership is also expected to decrease the average turnaround time to 24-48 hours (it now stands at about five to seven days), as well as drive down costs, which now average around $150-$200 per test,” the association said in a statement, adding that all hospitals will be eligible to use the lab and that it will allow for COVID-19 and flu testing simultaneously. 

Officials with PerkinElmer did not confirm Valencia as the selected location for the facility but confirmed several locations were in consideration. 

“We are exploring multiple sites for the PerkinElmer lab for the state of California, and hope to finalize discussions soon,” Kate Folmar, deputy secretary of external affairs with the California Health and Human Services Agency, said via email on behalf of PerkinElmer. 

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the partnership with a goal to process the tens of thousands of additional tests by Nov. 1 and run at full capacity by no later than March 1. 

“California is using its market power to combat global supply chain challenges and protect Californians in the fight against COVID-19. Supply chains across the country have slowed as demand for COVID-19 tests has increased, and flu season will only exacerbate the problem,” said Newsom previously. “So we are building our own laboratory capabilities right here on California soil with a stable supply chain to fight the disease, lower the prices of testing for everyone and protect Californians most at risk from COVID-19.”

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