LA County expands free testing to anyone with symptoms

Any Los Angeles County resident exhibiting symptoms of the novel coronavirus can now be tested for free, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Monday, April 7.

The previous guidelines limited testing to residents over 65 years old, individuals who are immunocompromised, or those who were subjected to a 14-day quarantine because of exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case.

The latest announcement comes as it “is a make-or-break week for us all to keep the momentum going and to ensure that we have the ability to continue to flatten the curve that will ensure we save the lives of loved ones,” Garcetti said during his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday.

Residents with symptoms or those who have been prevented from working because of contact with an individual with COVID-19 can go online to schedule an appointment (coronavirus.lacity.org/testing) and be tested at any of the 13 sites in the county.

However, the mayor said vulnerable groups, such as those 65 and older and with underlying health conditions e.g. diabetes or heart disease, will receive priority for same or next-day appointments.

Health care professionals and first responders will also be given preference and are advised to check with their hospital or medical center on how to get tested.
Most of the locations, in addition to the ones conducted at hospitals and private labs, are drive-up mobile testing sites to limit exposure and the tests will be done will individuals stay in their cars.

Centers include the Pomona Fairplex, South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, Glendale Memorial Hospital, Hotchkin Memorial Training Center near Dodgers Stadium in LA and Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Garcetti said 36,000 tests are targeted this week, with the city having the capacity for 18,000, and the other half through the county and other private partners.
“That doesn’t mean we’ll have a test for everybody tomorrow,” the mayor added. “It means our capacity is now greater than the number (of people) that we were getting through the requirements that we had.”

The LA City Attorney’s Office on Monday announced it has filed a civil action suit against Yikon Genomics Inc., a Chinese company that has been advertising and “illegally selling” a $39 at-home test for COVID-19. The company has agreed to stop marketing or selling the test kits until there is Food and Drug Administration approval.

The FDA previously said it has not authorized any test kits for home use.

There are two types of tests currently available, a nasal swab and an oral swab, the LA County Department of Public Health said. The nasal swab is administered by hospital or fire department staff. The oral swabs are self-administered, meaning clients must swab their own mouths/throats using instructions provided to them at the site. The testing process takes between 5 and 10 minutes but waiting times may vary.

Public Health and elected officials reminded individuals to call their doctor or 911 if they have any severe symptoms.

Around 52,000 individuals have been tested since the outbreak hit LA County.

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