COVID-19 test appointments full at L.A. County sites through July 4th weekend amid concern about surge

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COVID-19 tests are dropped off at a drive-thru site in Los Angeles on June 30, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

COVID-19 tests are dropped off at a drive-thru site in Los Angeles on June 30, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

No new appointments will be available until next week for COVID-19 testing at sites run by the city and county of Los Angeles due to high demand and low availability over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, officials say.

Publicly run sites are down thousands of appointment slots since they will be closed Friday and Saturday, Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s director of health services, said in a media availability Wednesday.

“This is in no small part due to the fact that it’s a holiday weekend,” she said.

Ghaly attributed the increased demand to a rising transmission rate and renewed attention on the pandemic. There’s currently no shortage of test kits in L.A. County, she said.

Registration for appointments next week at county-operated sites will be available starting Friday.

“Please remember you should also call your health care provider to request a test, especially if you have symptoms or you have an exposure to someone who’s known to be positive with COVID-19,” Ghaly said.  

If you don’t have a provider, you can call 211 to get connected with options. The county’s appointment portal also includes a map of non-publicly run sites where testing may be available.

Tests can also be administered at doctor’s offices and other medical practices, officials said. California ordered all public and commercial insurance plans to cover the entire cost of the tests in March.

“Providers have access to testing and test kits and can help get a test if you do need it,” Ghaly said.

If you think you’re suffering from COVID-19 but can’t access testing, officials recommend you stay home and self-isolate.

In the long run, the county hopes to have more testing done at private facilities, partially to better recover the cost of administering the screenings through private insurance. But in light of an increasing transmission rate, officials plans to set up more public testing sites in areas that are considered at higher risk and have larger outbreaks.

Ghaly said Angelenos’ plans for the holiday weekend should not hinge on the ability to get tested.

“We’re not doing the normal activities that we would do to celebrate the holiday, but these are really very small sacrifices in the interest of preventing further transmission [of the virus] that has killed so many to date, and sadly could still threaten the lives of so many individuals,” she said.

L.A. County has been reporting record-high increases in the number of new virus cases the past few weeks, and this week upwards of 2,000 new cases have been added each day.

On Friday, officials reported more than 2,200 new cases for a total of 107,667. And 3,454 people have died from COVID-19 countywide, after another 55 fatalities were confirmed Friday.

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