COVID-19 Poll Tracks Californians’ Mental Health, Cost Concerns

Statewide survey gathers new data on testing and access to health care as pandemic intensifies


Previous Poll Results

Get all the results from CHCF’s surveys of California’s health care providers and the general public in this collection.

To help Californians and state policymakers understand evolving demands on the state’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHCF is working with survey firms on two fronts. CHCF and global survey firm Ipsos are assessing residents’ desire for COVID-19 testing and their access to health care services. CHCF and Truth on Call, a physician market-research firm, are surveying hospital-based critical care, emergency department, and infectious disease physicians about staffing and the availability of testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), intensive care unit beds, and ventilators. Download the charts and data for your own presentations and analyses.

CHCF and survey firm Ipsos have updated their regular tracking survey of Californians’ experiences with COVID-19 testing and their access to health care services during the global pandemic. This week’s survey adds data on Californians’ views about their mental health and their concerns about paying for treatment of COVID-19.

When compared with last week, more Californians report having been tested (1.9% this week versus 0.7% last week). The share of state residents who say they don’t need testing right now dropped from 68% last week to 66% this week.

Overall, the proportion of Californians who say they are unable to get tests remains relatively small (1.3% this week compared with 0.8% last week). No Californians with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty guidelines (PDF) say they tried to get tested but could not.


In response to a question about experience with health care providers in the last seven days, fewer Californians say they had in-person visits this week (7.9%) compared with last week (10.1%). Among Californians with low incomes, fewer (14.7%) say they had in-person visits than last week (17.6%).

In that same period, phone or video visits for both groups increased, especially for Californians with low incomes — 3.6% this week versus 2.4% last week.

The share of Californians with low incomes who cannot get an appointment of any type jumped to 7% this week from 1.9% last week.


One in five Californians says their mental health has “gotten a little worse” in the last week. More than 5% of Californians with low incomes say their mental health had “gotten a lot worse,” compared to 2.8% of all Californians. Just over two-thirds of both groups say their mental health is “about the same.”


Health care costs are a prominent worry for many Californians, as CHCF noted in its latest California Health Policy Survey, which was published in February. This week, one-third of Californians surveyed say they are very or somewhat worried about being able to afford treatment of COVID-19 if needed. Among Californians with low incomes, 47% say they are worried.

The data released today represent a benchmark. CHCF/Ipsos will continue this survey as the pandemic develops in the coming weeks. See all of the results in our collection.

Methodology: This survey was conducted online in Ipsos’s Omnibus using the web-enabled “KnowledgePanel,” a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the California general population, not just the online population. The study consisted of 1,177 representative interviews conducted among California residents who are at least 18 years old between March 26 and March 30, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

More from the CHCF Blog