As more test positive at LAUSD schools, district says there’s race, income disparities in who’s getting coronavirus testing

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A boy receives a free coronavirus test at a St. John’s Well Child & Family Center mobile clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles on July 15, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A boy receives a free coronavirus test at a St. John’s Well Child & Family Center mobile clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles on July 15, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Mirroring trends seen countywide, more Los Angeles Unified School District students, staff and their families are testing positive for the coronavirus, Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.

As of Monday, a total of 4,618 people had tested positive for the virus at LAUSD schools, up from 2,770 the week before. That means around 40% of the cases were reported within the past week. 

While all in-person learning was halted four days ago, LAUSD continues to provide free coronavirus testing for all to students, staff and their families — gathering data in an effort to plan for safer school reopenings.

(LAUSD)
(LAUSD)

The school-based testing program found that in general, lower-income families were less likely to bring their children to school for coronavirus testing, Beutner said during a news conference.

And students struggling the most with online learning are also less likely to participate, he added.

“While there isn’t much difference by grade level, there are stark differences by race,” he said.

Data provided by the district shows there are a lower rate of Hispanic, Black and Native American students are getting tested at the schools than are white and Asian students.

(LAUSD)

“Repeat testers who may be a reasonable proxy for prevalence in the community of the virus are increasingly testing positive,” Beutner said. “This presents a sobering picture of the potential spread of the virus in the community.”

More than 230,000 tests have been provided by LAUSD, with the majority of those found to be positive being over the age of 19 and older.

(LAUSD)
(LAUSD)

Among children, the age group between ages 6 and 11 had the most infections, followed by 15- to 18-year-olds.

Kids aged 5 and younger have tested positive the least, according to LAUSD data.

“While almost all of the people who are tested at schools show no symptoms at the time of the test, there are significant differences by age of those who later experience symptoms,” Beutner said.

Among adults, just about 4.5% of people between 40 to 49 years old had COVID-19 symptoms when they were tested for the virus. But a much larger percentage — 39.6% — later experienced symptoms of the respiratory illness, according to LAUSD.

Similarly, about 6% of kids aged 12 to 14 years old had symptoms the day they were tested, but 26.8% in that age group ended up having symptoms.

Los Angeles County has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic in California.

A total of 525,486  have tested positive for the virus, 57,208 of them younger than 18 years old.

LAUSD schools have been closed for months.

While schools did reopen to some 4,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, they have since been closed again as the county sees unprecedented increases in infection numbers.

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