Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that all Angelenos, regardless of symptoms, can get tested for COVID-19 at no cost starting tonight.
“Tonight I am so proud to announce that Los Angeles will become the first major city in America to offer wide-scale testing to all residents, with or without symptoms,” Garcetti announced Wednesday night.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
“Moving forward in the city of Los Angeles you will be able to — symptoms or not — get tested,” Garcetti said. “With symptoms will of course have the first priority but we have the capacity to move forward starting tonight.”
As of April 29, there are 35 COVID-19 testing sites in LA County, 139,000 people have been tested, 14% positive tests, 22,485 total cases, 1,940 total hospitalized and 1,056 deaths.
The Los Angeles Police Department has a total of 87 employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus to date. Thirty-seven of those LAPD employees have recovered and returned to full duty, one individual is hospitalized, and all other individuals are self-isolating at home and recovering, according to an email news release from the city.
Additionally, the Los Angeles Fire Department has a total of 23 members who have tested positive. Sixteen of those LAFD employees have recovered and returned to duty. Currently no members are hospitalized and the remaining seven employees are isolated and recovering at home.
The City of Los Angeles, in partnership with the County of Los Angeles and Community Organized Relief Effort, is providing free COVID-19 testing to all LA County residents, whether or not they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Results are estimated to take three to four days, with positive results being shared by phone and negative results being shared through email.
On April 21, the FDA approved LabCorp’s at-home test-kits which allow people to self-swab from home.
To get a test, one would fill out an eligibility survey where questions will be asked regarding their profession, symptoms, contact with COVID-19 and current health risk. The test costs $119 upfront, but LabCorp says they are working to get reimbursement from individuals’ health plans.
Inside the delivered box one will find a nasal swab and instructions. After a sample has been collected on the swab, the person ships the sample back to the lab where they can view their results online.
While some fear that the results may not be accurate, the FDA ensures that the kits are up to par.
“The FDA’s around-the-clock work since this outbreak began has resulted in the authorization of more than 50 diagnostic tests and engagement with over 350 test developers,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn in a news release. “Specifically, for tests that include home sample collection, we worked with LabCorp to ensure the data demonstrated from at-home patient sample collection is as safe and accurate as sample collection at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing site.”
Garcetti’s full address can be viewed here.
Editor’s Note 10:34 a.m. April 30: Corrected byline to include Samantha Bravo.