Dodger Stadium COVID testing site reopens amid increased demand, uptick in cases

Local news

For the first time in months, coronavirus testing returned to Dodger Stadium Monday amid an increase in demand.

The testing site, run by Curative, offers nasal PCR drive-thru testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

“The Curative testing site is relaunching due to increase demand in testing coupled with an increase in positivity across the state of California,” Curative spokesman Pasquale Gianni said.

When it first opened, the coronavirus testing site at Dodger Stadium was the largest in the country, testing thousands of residents for free each day.

More than 1 million Angelenos were tested for coronavirus at the stadium after the testing site opened in May 2020. Images of long lines of drivers waiting for swabs at the iconic L.A. landmark became synonymous with the beginning of the pandemic in the city.

After COVID-19 vaccines became available, it transitioned into a mass vaccination site in January before closing in May amid a slowdown in the number of people wanting to get the shots.

Now, the stadium has the capacity to provide about 500 tests per day as of Wednesday, according to Curative.

“It has the capacity to be the largest testing site once more, but we’re keeping an eye on demand and positivity as we scale up,” Gianni said.

The recent increased demand for testing can be at least partly attributed to new mandates that require unvaccinated residents to undergo coronavirus testing for large events, and even some workplaces and educational settings.

But the county is also beginning to see signs of a possible uptick in coronavirus transmission, L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a media briefing last Thursday.

“We’re seeing a plateau across all of our metrics with signs of a possible uptick in transmission over the more recent days,” Ferrer said.

State officials on Monday also warned that colder weather, mingling over the holidays and the waning of vaccine immunity puts Californians at risk of seeing another possible winter surge.

Last year’s winter surge overwhelmed hospitals and filled up L.A. County’s morgues.

In some parts of the state, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are beginning to rise, signaling the need for Californians to get their booster shots and for young children to get vaccinated, state officials said.

“With cases ticking up in most parts of the state, we cannot let our guard down and we cannot underestimate this deadly virus,” said California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Tomás J. Aragón.

“While we have a nation-leading vaccination effort, children ages 5-11 years have just become eligible, and last year at this time our COVID-19 cases increased at a dangerous rate, so we can’t underscore enough the importance to vaccinate and boost to protect yourself, your family and all of our communities against this virus,” he added.

For months, unvaccinated people have accounted for the most cases and hospitalizations in both L.A. County and throughout the state.

“Hospitalization rates remain flat amongst vaccinated people, but they’re now ticking up amongst those who are not yet vaccinated,” Ferrer said. “The differences between these groups remain stark.”

Unvaccinated people have been seven times more likely to get infected, and 27 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than vaccinated people in L.A. County, according to the health director.

Statewide, unvaccinated people were 18.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19, according to October data from the California Department of Public Health.

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