CDC withdraws request from FDA for Emergency Use for the RT-PCR Diagnostic Test 

SACRAMENTO – Throughout the past week, some of California’s largest employers – both private businesses and local governments—have announced that they will be following Governor Gavin Newsom’s lead in implementing employee vaccine and testing measures. 

After California implemented new vaccine verification and testing requirements for state and health care workers last Monday and then President Joseph Biden followed suit this past Thursday, employers have implemented similar measures for thousands of employees throughout the state and nationally. 

Counties Include 

Getting through this together, Atascadero
  • City of Los Angeles
  • City of San Francisco
  • San Diego County
  • City of Long Beach

Companies Include 

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Netflix
  • Lyft
  • Uber
  • California Business Roundtable
    • The coalition includes:
      • California Business Properties Association
      • California Hotel and Lodging Association
      • California Manufacturers and Technology Association
      • California Retailers Association
      • California Restaurant Association
      • Orange County Business Council
      • Los Angeles County BizFed
      • Central Valley BizFed
      • Inland Empire Economic Partnership

In the rollout last week, Newsom stated that unvaccinated workers will be subject to at least one to two weekly COVID-19 tests and will be required to wear appropriate PPE. This requirement applies to high-risk congregate settings like an adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters, and jails. 

The new policy for state workers took effect on Aug. 2, and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on Aug. 9, and health care facilities will have until Aug. 23 to come into full compliance.

This push for vaccinations and testing is still in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announcement on Jul. 21 that after Dec. 31 of this year, the CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. The assay was first introduced in February 2020 for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. 

According to the CDC, the PCR test that has been used solely in San Luis Obispo County and nationally is inaccurate and could potentially risk false results. Therefore, they encourage laboratories to consider adopting a multiplexed method to facilitate the detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. 

Along with the CDC’s information, it was also confirmed that the current testing for COVID-19 can not detect different strains such as the Delta variant. 

The COVID Delta Variant causing the new outbreaks and hospitalizations to spike even show that it is more transmissible but not deadly. 

Throughout the nation, there has been a decline in the number of individuals getting vaccinated. This has led local government officials to create awareness campaigns to urge the public to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.   

To incentivize the residents of San Luis Obispo County to get vaccinated, the SLO County Public Health announced that starting on Aug. 2, anyone who gets their COVID-19 vaccine from a County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Clinic or mobile vaccination clinic will be eligible to receive a $25 gift card for each dose. Gift cards available will vary by clinic and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“Increasing vaccination throughout SLO County is key to ending the pandemic, especially with the spread of the Delta variant,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “These incentives are a prompt to act now to protect yourself and your family with the vaccine. While I hope the gift cards are a helpful motivator, the true value is being protected from the cost and suffering of COVID-19.” 

In addition, Public Health is launching a referral raffle to encourage residents to help their friends and family get the vaccine. This could mean helping make an appointment, offering a ride to the clinic, going along to offer support, or sharing information. Those who get vaccinated can enter the person who helped or referred them into a weekly drawing for a gift basket (a $100 value). 

“Every vaccine brings us a step closer to ending the pandemic and sparing our loved ones and neighbors from this terrible disease as the Delta variant sweeps through SLO County,” said Dr. Borenstein. “For those who have been waiting, I urge you to make an appointment or walk-in and get your vaccine.” 

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, the County announced that two residents, one in their sixties and one in their eighties, passed away due to COVID-19. 

Information regarding vaccination status or underline health conditions was not mentioned. 

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805)788-2903.