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Los Angeles Times+ Your Authors @latimes Bringing L.A. to the world and the world to L.A. Subscribe now: Jul. 12, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

Testing people for the coronavirus was the first big challenge for health officials during the outbreak. California found itself unprepared, overwhelmed and constantly lagging, our investigation has found. 

Long before the official case count began to climb, the virus was freewheeling. Federal officials grappling with a shortage of test kits issued narrow testing criteria; that meant key local spreaders in the state were going unnoticed and untraced. 

If the earliest potential spreaders weren’t eligible for coronavirus testing, how could cluster busters find them in time to curb a full-blown outbreak?

“It was a question we were all asking,” said Dr. Matthew Zahn. 

The shadow of past failures — and the legacy of ones still in the making — still linger.

Read more from @Emily_Baum: 

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