California has signed a contract worth up to $1.4 billion with a company to provide a significantly cheaper coronavirus test that will allow the state to eventually more than double the number of people tested to 250,000 per day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.
California now averages about 100,000 tests per day, with the state paying $100 per test and results taking between five and seven business days. Newsom said the state’s contract with Massachusetts-based PerkinElmer will increase the state’s testing capacity to a quarter-million per day with each test costing about $31. Results would come within two days.
The contract will initially cost the state $100 million, with a maximum amount of $1.4 billion, according to the Newsom administration. The goal is to begin processing tens of thousands of new tests by November and reach at full capacity by March.
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“Supply chains across the country have slowed as demand for COVID-19 tests has increased, and flu season will only exacerbate the problem,” Newsom said. “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.”
California has had a relationship with PerkinElmer for 30 years. The company conducts newborn screening for the state and operates other genetic testing programs.
PerkinElmer will use polymerase chain reaction diagnostic testing, which Newsom referred to as the gold standard. But the contract says the company can pivot to new testing technology once it becomes available.