As of April 30th, the number of reported COVID-19 cases here in Irvine and across Orange County appears low. However, the numbers do not tell the full story because Orange County is doing far less testing than nearby counties.
For example, Orange County (pop. 3.2 million) has tested 31,534 individuals. That’s only about 0.95% of the population. By comparison, San Diego County (pop. 3.3 million) has performed 52,574 tests (about 1.6% of the County’s population) and Riverside County (pop. 2.4 million) has performed 50,305 tests (2.1% of the population).
Orange County — and Irvine in particular — is home to some of the most scientifically-advanced institutions in the nation. So, why the lack of testing?
To date, Irvine has reported only 130 cases. However, the CEO of an Irvine-based medical software company (Kareo) offered a private drive-thru antibody test to their employees two weekends ago. Three-quarters of the employees (415) chose to be tested. The results showed that 10% of the 415 employees who were tested had the COVID-19 antibodies, signifying that they have had the virus.
Given the fact that in a normal work-week, there are more than 200,000 workers in Irvine every day, testing should be the top health priority in our City!
We all want to be safe and get back to “normal” as quickly as possible. But, how can we realistically begin to reopen restaurants, hair salons, schools, libraries, and community/senior centers if we are not testing?
So far, our local leaders have provided very little information regarding testing. Irvine residents deserve to know if our healthcare workers and support staff are being tested. We also need to know if testing has been made available for all essential workers in Irvine (such as police officers, firefighters, mail carriers, grocery store employees, pharmacy personnel, food delivery workers, etc.).
Irvine Community News & Views will continue to follow testing in the County (and within Irvine) so that we can keep our readers informed and updated.