Testing remains critical tool even as vaccine distribution to medical workers begins
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Garcetti this week will deploy the City’s five mobile testing teams to locations in the East San Fernando Valley and South L.A., areas where COVID-19 infections nearly doubled in early December in these predominantly Black and Latino communities.
“Angelenos must remain vigilant in the face of this surge. Part of that is knowing their COVID-19 status, and our mobile testing teams ensure that Black and Latino communities can get tested and access this vital tool of public health,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “A vaccine offers us hope that the end of this pandemic is in sight, but we can’t ignore the realities of the current surge or the inequities laid bare by this virus -- we have to keep our guard up to save lives and protect our loved ones right now.”
“These communities are home to essential-worker Angelenos who do not have the luxury to work from home, where they often live in close quarters with families in dense neighborhoods,” said L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez. “They are especially vulnerable to the cruel impacts of this pandemic. It is critical that we support their ability to stay safe and utilize our mobile testing units.”
The Mayor’s Office utilizes countywide case data to spot changes in infection trends across 139 neighborhoods in the city. These figures inform the Mayor’s Office in deploying mobile testing units and identifying locations of new permanent testing sites. Launched in April, the City’s mobile testing program allows teams to respond more nimbly to testing needs in neighborhoods across Los Angeles allowing these teams to reach the communities where infections are rapidly increasing and testing is most needed. Each mobile team, composed of members of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), can test more than 1,000 people per day, with or without an appointment.
“I am proud of the LAFD’s mobile testing group, which has worked tirelessly to bring critical COVID-19 testing capabilities throughout the City during this unprecedented health crisis,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “Using data identifying neighborhood case loads from the Mayor’s Innovation Team, we are able to ensure that specific communities have access to this important testing program that in no small way can end up saving lives.”
The East Valley accounted for 26% of all new cases citywide for the week ending December 4, and South L.A. comprised 19%. These numbers exceed these areas’ share of the general population. That week, cases in Van Nuys increased 74%, Pacoima surged 92%, and the neighborhoods of Florence-Firestone, Vernon, Sun Valley, and Canoga Park saw increases of more than 100% compared to the prior week. Rapidly increasing case rates in the East Valley led the Mayor’s Office to launch the San Fernando Park testing site last month.
The City of Los Angeles, in partnership with Curative, CORE, and the LAFD, operates one of the largest municipal COVID-19 testing programs in the country, including the largest testing site in the nation at Dodger Stadium. The City launched its testing program on March 20 to test first responders and vulnerable individuals, and quickly expanded to offer free testing to all residents, with or without symptoms. Since then, the City has tested over 2.8 million people and can test over 41,000 people each day across ten City testing sites. To find more information or make an appointment, please visit coronavirus.lacity.org/testing
This week’s mobile testing teams will be deployed to the following locations:
December 15 - 19 - El Nido Family Services (in parking lot), 11243 Glenoaks Blvd., Pacoima, CA 91331, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
December 15 - 19 - Home Depot (on sidewalk), 8250 Balboa Pl., Van Nuys, CA 91406, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
December 15 - 16 - Central Ave. and 59th St. (on sidewalk), 5867 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90001, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
December 15 - 17, 19 - 43rd St. and Flower St. (on sidewalk), 400 W. 43rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90037, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
December 15 - 17, 19 - Baskin Robbins (in parking lot), 1950 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90047, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
December 18 - 19 - Nickerson Gardens Housing (in parking lot), 11251 Compton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90059, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
December 17 - YMCA San Pedro (in parking lot), 301 S. Bandini St., San Pedro, CA 90731, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.