Rady Children's Hospital plans to test 2,000 children per day for COVID-19

Posted at 12:33 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 15:45:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Rady Children's Hospital plans to test 2,000 kids per day for coronavirus.

The hospital, in conjunction with San Diego County’s health department, launched the "Rady Children's COVID-19 Collaborative for Children" Wednesday morning.

"As a county, we have a goal of getting to 5,000 tests per day. Right now, we're around 4,000. This will add 2,000, so that's a big jump," said County Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox.

The collaborative will offer a test to any child who visits a doctor for any reason, whether at Rady Children's Hospital, a county physician or a pediatrician in their own healthcare system.

The child's parents will also have the option to get tested.

If the child tests positive, the county can then trace back through anyone they've come into contact with and offer them a test as well.

"Each test makes us more aware of the situation on the ground," said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at a news conference announcing the program. "That will help us as we move forward through the recovery process."

Rady Children's Hospital has already started administering about 400 tests per day. They hope to scale up to 2,000 by the end of June.

Officials with the county say kids age 19 and under make up just 5.5% of all positive coronavirus cases in San Diego. But many are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms and go unnoticed. These tests will help identify those cases and keep them from spreading to other people.

"This is a perfect example of a testing model with a child in the center," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the head of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Leaders at Rady Children's Hospital say their offer to lead the collaborative fits with the hospital's mission and history, since the hospital was founded 65 years ago during the height of the Polio outbreak.

They hope these tests will help bring the current pandemic to an end.

"It makes perfect sense that we would partner with the county and other healthcare systems in this unique way to provide testing for thousands of children in our community," said Rady Children’s Hospital CEO and President Doug Hutcheson. "Rady's is committed to do our part."

Officials say parents should not schedule an appointment for an otherwise healthy child just to get a coronavirus test. But if your child is showing symptoms, call 2-1-1.