Los Angeles Becomes First Major City In America To Offer Free COVID-19 Testing

Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Port of Los Angeles.
Carolyn Cole-Pool / Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that L.A. will become the first major city in the country to offer free COVID-19 testing for all residents, with or without having prior symptoms, according to CNN.

Garcetti made the announcement at a news conference, telling residents that testing would be available as soon as Wednesday night. There is no limit on the number of tests locals can get, and if residents get tested at drive-thru sites, results will be made available within 24 to 48 hours.

“We have the capacity so don’t wait, don’t wander and don’t risk infecting others,” declared Mayor Garcetti.

While residents with symptoms have first priority, asymptomatic residents are also encouraged to get tested. Priority is also given to front-line workers.

“If you feel you need a test, get one,” Garcetti said, letting residents know if they want to be safe, they must get a test.

Garcetti said that the free tests would only be open to city residents, but according to the city’s website, all Los Angeles County residents can sign up.

The decision for countywide testing came after L.A. opened more testing locations and discovered leftover tests each night.

The city and county of Los Angeles have 34 testing sites, with the ability to test 18,000 people per day. According to Mayor Garcetti, more than 140,000 people have already been tested.

The free test being offered in Los Angeles is not the nasal swab. This test involves coughing while wearing a mask three times into the shoulder facing away from the health care worker. Then, the person being tested must take a swab and do the following: collect particles inside the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and under the tongue for 20 seconds. Lastly, the swab is placed into a plastic container and sent off with the health care providers.

According to The Hill, on April 22, Garcetti announced that Los Angeles County would offer tests to first responders, health care workers, and grocery store workers regardless if they are symptomatic or not.

“I know that that’s going to relieve a lot of our men and women who are worried about going home and potentially infecting their family,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said, revealing how a police detective contracted the virus without symptoms and the detective’s wife later died.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that the state is currently instituting a phased reopening plan. The plan is in Stage 1, which is just staying home and flattening the curve. The state is still weeks away from reopening altogether. As reported by The Inquisitr, the production of film and television in the state is still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.