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California

All L.A. County residents can now get free coronavirus tests, Garcetti says

Testing
Coronavirus testing in Boyle Heights on Wednesday.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that all county residents can now get free coronavirus testing at city-run sites.

Until now, only residents with symptoms as well as essential workers and those in institutional settings like nursing homes could be tested.

Officials say expanded testing is essential to getting a better sense of how many people have the virus — data that could be used to ease stay-at-home rules.

Under the new guidelines, priority for the same- or next-day testing will still be given to people with symptoms, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath.

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Testing will also be prioritized for certain critical frontline workers who interact with the public.

Testing is by appointment only and is being provided by the city in partnership with Los Angeles County and Community Organized Relief Effort. As of April 21, there were 35 testing sites across the county.

Los Angeles County health officials on Wednesday announced the largest influx of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day since the outbreak began, pushing the county’s total number of infections past 22,400.

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Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer announced 1,541 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, nearly 1,000 more than what was reported the previous day. The large increase is mostly the result of a boost in testing as well as a lag in weekend reporting, Ferrer said.

Despite the increase in confirmed cases and new deaths, Ferrer said, the county’s rate of hospitalizations and the percentage of people testing positive for the virus have remained fairly stable.

Health officials also noted that there has been increased testing at prisons throughout the county, which has also led to an increase in the number of confirmed cases.


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