Long lines awaited people who were scheduled to be tested for COVID-19 at a drive-up testing site in Elysian Park Thursday, on what would have been Opening Day at nearby Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles set up three other sites across in the city for residents who are at the highest risk and meet the requirements for testing.
On Thursday, those who had booked appointments sat in their cars for hours in a line that stretched more than a mile from the entrance along Stadium Way. Many wore masks and stayed in their vehicles while workers in full protective body gear took swabs.
A link to the city’s website to schedule an appointment online indicated Thursday that no appointments were available and prompted users to another link of frequently asked questions.
Officials said the website is maxed out and there is now a waiting list for appointments.
“If you are experiencing severe symptoms, please call your doctor,” the page for booking an appointment reads. “If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.”
Testing is available for Angelenos with COVID-19 symptoms who are 65 and older, have underlying health conditions — including diabetes, heart disease and moderate to severe asthma — and people who are immunocompromised. In addition, residents are eligible for testing if they are subject to a 14-day quarantine because they have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Appointments can be made a day in advance. They are free. Those being tested are asked to not eat or drink anything 20 minutes before their appointment.
Trained professional are collecting nasal swabs, depending on the test, while at other locations, the test is a mouth swab that the patient can collect themselves, officials explained in the FAQ.
Results may take up to five days, officials explain on the site. Positive results will be delivered by phone, while negative results will be delivered by email.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said on Thursday that testing has increased in the county by the thousands, leading to more positive cases.
As of Thursday, there are 1,216 positive diagnoses of coronavirus in Los Angeles County, with 21 deaths. Ferrer said 559 cases were reported within the most recent 48-hour period.
As of Wednesday, 9,400 people had been tested in Los Angeles County, with 10% coming back positive.
“It’s really amazing that in a couple of days we’ve increased the testing capacity by thousands and thousands of more people being able to be tested,” Ferrer said at a news conference Thursday.
While testing is increasing, it is still limited, Ferrer said. She asked that those who show symptoms of COVID-19 see a medical provider who can in turn determine whether a test is merited.