In COVID-19 Tracking Poll, Californians Report Worsening Mental Health, Cost Worries


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.

The number of Californians tested for COVID-19 increased and the share of state residents reporting recent telehealth visits with health care professionals jumped, according to a new tracking poll.

CHCF and survey firm Ipsos updated their regular survey of Californians’ experience with COVID-19 testing, their access to health care services during the global pandemic, and their reports on mental health status and worries about treatment costs. This week, the survey added a question about health insurance status.

When compared with prior weeks, three times as many Californians report they have been tested for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, although the numbers are still small. They rose to 2.3% this week from less than 1% two weeks ago. The share of state residents who say they don’t need testing right now declined from 68% two weeks ago to less than 65% now.

The proportion of Californians unable to get tests remains relatively small (1.5% this week compared with 0.8% two weeks ago). Similarly, a small but increasing number of Californians with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty guidelines (PDF) report they tried but could not get tested for the new coronavirus (1.3% this week versus 0.3% two weeks ago).


In-person visits with health care providers have been steadily falling since CHCF/Ipsos commenced tracking responses two weeks ago. This week 3.8% of Californians saw a provider in person, down from 7.9% last week and 10.1% two weeks ago. Californians with low incomes also report fewer in-person visits, with 8.5% seeing a provider in person this week compared to 17.6% two weeks ago.

Phone or video visits for both groups have significantly increased in the last two weeks. This shift was much larger among Californians with low incomes, 7.6% of whom had a telehealth appointment this week compared with 2.4% two weeks ago.


In the last week, 27.3% of Californians say their mental health has gotten “a little” or “a lot” worse. Twice as many women (36.5%) report worsening mental health as men (18.1%). Within communities of color, 27.5% of Latinos report their mental health has gotten worse compared to 18.6% of Blacks and 19.1% of Asians.

Majorities of all groups say their mental health is “about the same.”



Californians continue to be worried about affording treatment should they develop COVID-19. Over one in three Californians say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about COVID-19 treatment costs. Among Californians with low incomes, nearly one-half say they are worried.


This week the CHCF/Ipsos survey added a question about health insurance concerns. While less than 1% of Californians report losing coverage in the last month, 20% are “very” or “somewhat” worried about losing their health insurance in the future. Among Californians with low incomes, 27.1% are worried about losing their health insurance coverage.


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 1,179 representative interviews conducted among California residents who are at least 18 years old between April 3, 2020, and April 8, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

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