As the numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge, officials are working to expand Los Angeles County’s coronavirus testing capacity, opening up a testing site in Boyle Heights with plans to set up several others across the county.
The Boyle Heights testing site at 724 Pennsylvania Ave., near the iconic Mariachi Plaza, reopened Tuesday amid an increased demand for testing that has resulted in limited test appointment availability across the county in recent weeks.
“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted hardworking Latino families who are essential workers and who do not have the option of working from home during this pandemic, and this is why I am committed to expanding access to COVID-19 testing sites,” L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a written statement.
Black and Latino residents in the county are twice as likely as white residents to die of COVID-19, L.A. County health director Barbara Ferrer said.
Those living in communities with high rates of poverty also experience a “disproportionate burden,” and they’re four times more likely to die of COVID-19 when compared to residents of higher- income communities, Ferrer said.
More than 143,000 people have tested positive for the virus in L.A. County and over 3,900 have died of the respiratory illness, according to county data.
New testing sites will also open up at East Los Angeles Community College and the Pomona Fairplex and in the cities of El Monte, Azusa, Montebello and South Gate, Solis said during a news conference Wednesday.
The county also rolled out a new platform for scheduling coronavirus testing, with new features that allow residents to cancel or reschedule their appointments at nine county-run sites. L.A. County’s main testing website will remain at covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
All free coronavirus testing in the county is done by appointment only.
Testing at the new Boyle Heights location will be conducted Monday through Friday, and anyone interested in getting tested should first contact their primary care provider, officials said.
L.A. County does offer free coronavirus testing to people without medical insurance. More information on testing can be found online or by dialing 211.