South Bay company develops COVID-19 testing kit with results in 45 minutes

A Bay Area company has been given emergency authorization to use a coronavirus testing kit that gives results in minutes.

South Bay-based company Cepheid said its test indicates whether a person has COVID-19 in as little as 45 minutes.

As U.S. testing increases, so will the numbers of positive cases.

"And as you see this curve is going up. It will continue to rise dramatically over the next period of time," says Dr. Brett Giroir with Health and Human Services.

 White House officials have acknowledged that positive coronavirus testing and cases in the U.S. are climbing fast.

It's no surprise to doctors who’ve anticipated this as the nation plays catch up on testing.

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"We were kind of prepared for this. We've been lagging for about two months in ramping up our testing and we're finally starting to do that so it's only natural that the numbers are going to increase," said Dr. Runjhum Misra, an internal medicine specialist.

Testing capacity is growing. Mobile centers in San Francisco and beyond have started to come online.

Still, officials acknowledge testing is still being reserved primarily for those already sick, the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions.

Coronavirus task force Doctor Anthony Fauci explained it’s about conserving personal protection equipment for healthcare workers on the front lines.

"When you go in and get tested, you are consuming personal protective equipment, masks, and gowns, those are high-priority for the health care workers who are taking care of people who have Coronavirus disease," said Fauci.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Cepheid the green light to use a new testing kit that can be conducted on-site at hospitals with a potential turnaround time of 45 minutes for results.

It's the first time this capability has been available to test for COVID-19.

"It means that those results will play into how those patients are managed. Who gets respiratory isolation. Who needs antibiotics. Who doesn't need antibiotics? Those kinds of decisions can be made in real-time," said Dr. David Persing, Chief Medical and Technology Officer of Cepheid, in a video news release on the company's website.

As the nation adapts to new behaviors, a slip-up by Dr. Fauci patting the vice president on the shoulder—a violation of social distancing, demonstrates old habits die hard, and new ones take time.

Doctors said new behaviors such a social distancing and staying home are our greatest weapon in the battle against the virus.

Governor Newsom implored those who believe they’re the least vulnerable to join the fight.

"Those young people who are still out there on the beaches thinking this is a party, time to grow up, time to wake up. Time to recognize it's not just about the old folks, it's about your impact on their lives," said Newsom.