How to get a free PCR coronavirus test in L.A. County as part of new pickup program

Local news

Los Angeles County has launched a new pickup COVID-19 testing program, designed to increase and facilitate access for residents amid a surge in demand, health officials announced Monday.

The program will allow residents to pick up a PCR test kit from designated locations, perform the test at home or in their car, and then return the completed kit to the same site for processing, the L.A. County Department of Health Services said in a news release. 

Residents will be notified of their test results via an email from Fulgent Genetics within 24-48 hours.

The free “Pick-Up Testing Kit” program is the latest in a series of efforts to expand COVID testing capacity as demand grows across the county amid an omicron-driven COVID-19 surge. Recent efforts to increase capacity include increasing the days and hours of operation for existing sites, adding mobile testing units, and providing intermittent availability of Home Testing Kits via mail, the department said.

The new “Pick-Up Testing Kit” program will operate at 13 testing sites across the county. The kits will be available for pickup without an appointment, until daily supplies are exhausted.

For a list of pick-up locations and hours of operation, visit Pick-Up Testing Kit.

The kits will test for both COVID-19 and Influenza (A and B), the same as all L.A. County operated testing locations, according to the Department of Health Services, and they offer only PCR testing (not rapid testing).

“Once all 13 Pick-Up Testing locations are fully operating and once our Home Testing Kit by mail program is simultaneously relaunched later this week, we will have successfully added over 10,000 additional daily Covid tests available to the residents of LA County,” said Paula Siler, the department’s director of community mobile testing operations. 

The kits are available to all L.A. County residents who are experiencing symptoms or believe they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. To preserve limited resources, the “Pick-Up Testing Kits” are not intended for use by those testing as a requirement to return to school, work or participate in other activities where routine testing is mandated.

The test kit is for immediate use only. You should collect and return your sample within 3-5 days of receiving the test kit, officials said.

The new program comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that left many L.A. County residents waiting in long lines at testing sites and rushing to buy rapid test kits only to find them sold out at many stores and pharmacies.

Stores including Walgreens, CVS and Walmart have been limiting sales of at-home rapid tests, which have been in high demand since before the holidays.

Over the weekend, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to prevent price gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits, prohibiting sellers from hiking prices by more than 10%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has touted using at-home tests as one of the ways community members can reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

But with tests becoming scarce, officials are warning people about fake and unauthorized at-home testing kits popping up online, or highly sought-after tests being resold online at a mark-up.

Here are the 13 locations where you can pick up COVID-19 PCR tests across L.A. County. (L.A. County Health Services)
Here are the 13 locations where you can pick up COVID-19 PCR tests across L.A. County. (L.A. County Health Services)

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