Sen. Gonzalez Chairs First Hearing of Pandemic Emergency Response Committee

May 06, 2020

Sacramento, Calif.- Today, California State Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D- Long Beach) will chair the first hearing of the Senate’s special committee on Pandemic Emergency Response. The focus of today’s hearing is to hear directly from state and local government officials, academics and other experts involved in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.  The hearing will include up-to-the-minute information about access to COVID-19 testing in California and our system for contact tracing, both of which are critical components to enable further modification to and the eventual lifting of stay-at-home orders.

“Access to testing for COVID-19, coupled with effective contact tracing to reach out to anyone who had recent contact with someone who has the virus is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring that people get the health care they need,” explained Senator Gonzalez.  “Making testing more broadly available throughout the state and dramatically increasing the number of public health staff who are making contact with those who may have been exposed are necessary to protect public health as the state loosens the stay-at-home orders.”

“Given that first aspect of the six indicators to modifying California’s stay-at-home order is expansion of testing and contract tracing, the Senate Special Committee hearing, which will focus on those efforts, is timely and imperative,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “The insights and perspectives of our public health officials regarding California’s response—from challenges with testing and contact tracing at the state and reducing health disparities—are critical to understanding our capabilities and how we can improve upon them. We must do all we can to protect the health and well-being of all Californians, now and in years to come.”

 “I thank the Senate President pro Tem for establishing this committee at such a critical time. We have to contemplate a future in which neither a vaccine nor a cure for COVID-19 will be available for a long time. Effective, quick, and targeted testing is therefore critical to reopening all of California safely in the near future. This committee needs to ensure Californians have access to the testing protections necessary for all of us to return to work, to school, and to enjoy life with family and friends. We need to address this quickly so that COVID-19 does not yet again disrupt our lives to this extent.” –Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)

The Agenda for the hearing and background information are available on the committee web page.