Coronavirus diagnosis in California highlights testing flaws

The announcement on Wednesday that a woman in Northern California was infected with the coronavirus left health officials in California searching for people she may have exposed to the virus and testing the medical workers who have treated her.

The announcement on Wednesday that a woman in Northern California was infected with the coronavirus left health officials in California searching for people she may have exposed to the virus and testing the medical workers who have treated her. The case has raised difficult questions about whom to test and whether the nation is prepared to keep the virus under control. Even before the announcement, frustration had been mounting among health providers and medical experts that CDC is testing too few Americans, which may slow preparations for an outbreak and may obscure the scope of infections. "I think the diagnostic issue is the single most important thing that keeps me up at night right now," said Lauren Sauer, director of operations at the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response in Baltimore. CDC officials said on Thursday that they had been unaware that doctors in California had previously made an urgent appeal for diagnostic testing of the woman. But by the end of the day, the agency had revised and broadened its testing criteria, adding to the number of Americans who qualify. The case has heightened concerns about the nation’s ability to test large numbers of people. Only CDC currently performs the tests that confirm a novel coronavirus diagnosis, a process that often takes days.