Gov. Gavin Newsom launches task force to increase COVID-19 testing by five-fold

California Governor Gavin Newsom has launched a new task force to help increase testing for COVID-19.

The goal is to increase testing five-fold by the end of the month.

This will be done by making available more tests and testing sites.

As of Saturday, California has tested 126,700 people.  

Newsom says that number is far too small, and he is promising to do better.

“I'm not going to explain away why we didn't do more and better all I can say is we're going to do more and better and we own that I own that,” said Newsom.

Newsom says his new task force will address the problem.

Each day, about two-thousand Californians are tested for Coronavirus.

The task force plans to increase that to 25,000 a day by the end of April, and even more beyond, according to the task force co-chair.

“If we're going to really avoid overloading the healthcare system, avoid unnecessary deaths, and get out of these social isolation measures and people can go back into their more normal day-to-day lives, we're going to need to have very, very broad testing out there,” said Paul Markovitch, CEO of Blueshield California.

In a partnership with UC Davis and UC San Diego, a hub system will be created throughout the state so that a testing site is within an hour drive for every Californian.

Testing at the point of care will also be expanded in partnership with Abbott Labs.

Newsom also debuted a new website -- -- a portal allowing individuals and companies to donate, sell, or offer to manufacture essential medical supplies.

“We have 13 critical areas of medical supplies that we are looking for, obviously ventilators, N95, masks, surgical masks, conferrals, exam gowns, face shield goggles,” said Newsom.

Compared to states like New York, California is faring well in the war against COVID-19.

The governor issued the country's first statewide stay at home order.

While acknowledging testing is lagging, health officials say California's aggressive action appears to be working.

“There's no question in my mind from what I'm seeing in the data and what I'm seeing elsewhere that it is making a difference,” said Markovitch.

Gov. Newsom also announced Saturday a collaboration with Stanford Medicine, which is developing a type a blood test to see if someone has already developed antibodies to COVID-19.

It would identify whether a person has been exposed to the virus but never got sick.