Santa Cruz County partners with UC Santa Cruz to expand COVID-19 testing capacity

Santa Cruz County and the University of California at Santa Cruz have announced a partnership to expand the county's COVID-19 coronavirus testing and analysis capacity.  

Using $805,000 in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, UCSC's Molecular Diagnostic Lab acquired additional testing analysis equipment like robotic liquid handling platforms and a PCR system that will allow local testing capacity to reach up to 800 tests per day.  

The Molecular Diagnostic Lab is increasingly one of the most popular testing locations for local health organizations, according to county officials. The lab has generally been able to return test results in 24 to 48 hours.  

"We are grateful to the county for these funds, which will help ensure that our diagnostic lab continues to be able to meet the increasing needs of the community and campus for coronavirus testing," UCSC Vice Chancellor for Research Scott Brandt said. 

It will take several weeks for the lab to have the new testing equipment fully operational, according to the county. Testing capacity is expected to increase over the course of several months.  

"Addressing COVID-19 in the community demands that we rely on the strength of our partnerships, and this partnership will form the backbone of our response efforts when it comes to testing and diagnosis," Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Director Mimi Hall said.  

"We are thankful to have UC Santa Cruz in our community and to see them rise to meet the challenges before us."