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City Of LA: You No Longer Need An Appointment To Get A Coronavirus Test

A sign at the entrance to a COVID-19 test site at Carbon Health in Echopark. Chava Sanchez/LAist

As of today, you won't need an appointment to get tested for COVID-19 at any of the sites run by the city of L.A. And you'll be able to register while standing in line.

Angelenos can now just show up at any city-run site, seven days a week, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get a test.

You'll need to bring a few things with you:

  • Insurance information, if you have it.
  • OR a valid form of ID.

Coronavirus tests are free. (The Mayor guarantees it.)

If you still want to make an appointment, you can do that on the city's website.

Another factor to keep in mind: the new rules only apply at test sites run by the city. L.A. County sites will still require an appointment.

City-run testing sites include:

  • Edendale Library - Echo Park (2011 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 90026)
  • Hansen Dam Recreational Center (11798 Foothill Blvd., Lake View Terrace, 91342)
  • Kedren Community Health Center (4211 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles, 90011)
  • L.A. Union (800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, 90012)
  • Lincoln Park (3501 Valley Blvd., Los Angeles, 90031)
  • Pierce College (20498 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills, 91306)
  • San Fernando Park (208 Park Ave., San Fernando, 91340)

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LA's COVID-19 Case Numbers Have Dropped 90% Since Height Of Winter Surge

(Courtesy L.A. County Dept. of Public Health)

Los Angeles County health officials are reporting some encouraging news on the coronavirus front. They reported just 21 deaths and 943 new cases today, the lowest numbers in months, even taking into account that Monday tallies are often low because of weekend reporting delays.

There are now 2,213 people hospitalized with COVID-19, compared with more than 8,000 in early January, according to the county.

Though the county still has a long way to go before it can move out of the state's most restrictive COVID-19 purple tier, the daily positivity rate has dropped below 5% - the rate hasn't been that low since October.

Officials also estimate that about 1 in 730 Angelenos are currenly infected with the virus; that's a big improvement from last week when it was about 1 in 460.

County public health director Barbara Ferrer says that while current daily case numbers are still high, the seven-day average has dropped to 1,600 a day, down 90% from its peak of more than 15,000 early last month:

"This wasn't a miracle, and the significant drop in our case numbers reflects actions and choices taken by millions of residents, workers, and employers."

While the picture has improved significantly, Ferrer cautioned that case numbers could potentially swing back up again this week due to gatherings during the Super Bowl and President's Day weekends.
Courtesy LA County Dept. Of Public Health

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The Fred Williams Death Inquest Is Over And It Didn't Reveal Much

Screen shot from deputy's body camera video. (L.A. County Sheriff's Department)

An inquest conducted by the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner has found Fred Williams III died of "a single gunshot wound to the back." Williams, 25, was shot by a Los Angeles sheriff's deputy in October in the first deputy-involved shooting caught on a body-worn camera. The department had started deploying them only weeks earlier.

The finding echoed the conclusion of the coroner's initial autopsy. It doesn't answer the crucial question of whether the deputy's decision to use deadly force was lawful. He is heard on his body cam saying Williams pointed the gun at him. The video shows Williams holding a gun but does not show him pointing it at the deputy.

State law limits the scope of an inquest. It may only determine place, manner and cause of death. In this case, Wiiliams was killed in Willowbrook by a gunshot fired by a sheriff’s deputy. The half-day inquest — conducted on Jan. 28 by retired justice Candace Cooper — was further limited by the refusal of any Sheriff's official to testify.

The deputy who shot Williams cited his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, as did the deputy's partner. The department has not identified either deputy, saying there are credible threats against them.

The detectives investigating the shooting said testifying would threaten their ongoing investigation. Cooper indicated she relied heavily on sealed documents provided by the Sheriff's Department.

Once the department's investigation is complete, District Attorney George Gascón will use it to help determine whether to bring any criminal charges against the deputy. Gascón has promised to scrutinize police shootings more closely than previous DAs.

The Board of Supervisors has urged the coroner to conduct inquests to increase accountability and transparency at the sheriff's department. But both this case and an inquest into the deputy-involved shooting of Andres Guardado, 18, have yet to reveal new details about the incidents or how the department has investigated them.

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The First Group Of Asylum Seekers Crosses Into CA As Biden Phases Out Trump's Remain In Mexico Policy

Asylum seekers wait to cross into the United States in Tijuana on February 19, 2021. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)

Asylum seekers who have been forced to wait in Mexico under a controversial program put in place by former President Donald Trump are beginning to be allowed to enter the United States, where they'll wait while their immigration cases are decided.

The first 25 migrants in the program were processed through the San Diego-Tijuana border on Friday. Another 25 people were processed today.

It's part of the Biden Administration's move to end the Migration Protection Protocols program, better known as the "Remain in Mexico" program, which launched in 2019 to deter migration.

Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán, who represents CA 44 (which includes swaths of South L.A. including Compton, San Pedro and Watts) says the MPP program forced people to endure inhumane living conditions while they waited at encampments in Mexico:

"About a year ago, I saw in person the inhumane living conditions in an MPP encampment in Matamoros, Mexico. It was heartbreaking to see the pain, suffering and danger migrants faced as a result of this un-American policy intended to curb our asylum system."

She was at the San Ysidro port of entry today, where she says the migrants were all processed in about an hour. A local non-profit organization, Jewish Family Service, then took them to a San Diego hotel to quarantine.

Barragán told LAist/LPCC that it was a significant moment for the families involved:

"In many cases, people are being reunited and staying with their family members. In one case today, we had a woman who was going to Philadelphia with her young three-year-old girl, who had been waiting [in Mexico] for 14 months."

The administration is first processing people with active immigration cases — approximately 25,000 of the more than 65,000 imigrants who were forced to return to Mexico under the program.

Migrants need to first register with NGOs then wait for instructions before heading to the border.

Barragán says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the San Ysidro port of entry have told her they have the capacity to process about 100 asylum seekers a day, to start.

To ramp up beyond that, Barragan says they may have to consider expanding beyond weekdays and daylight hours.


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James Franco Reportedly Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Actor James Franco was the target of a lawsuit that alleged sexual harassment at acting classes he led. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The title of James Franco's master class in acting was "Sex Scenes." Students paid $750 for the personal instruction in which they were encouraged to "push the boundaries." But a 2019 lawsuit filed by two female students said it was Franco himself who violated those boundaries.

Now, the students have reached a tentative settlement with Franco in their class-action lawsuit against him, his production company and his acting school colleagues.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal said that Franco's classes purported to coach acting students how to professionally handle movie sex scenes, with possible roles in Franco’s films to follow.

Instead, as alleged in their complaint, Franco's now-defunct Studio 4 school would push female students to perform in explicit sex scenes in an "orgy type setting." They further argued that Franco "sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs now say they have reached a tentative settlement with Franco and several of his colleagues. Terms were not divulged.

Franco's attorneys have not commented on the potential settlement but previously said the actor was innocent. In a statement made to NPR at the time the lawsuit was filed, his attorney said, "James will not only fully defend himself but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous, publicity-seeking lawsuit."

But in a 2018 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, after the allegations first surfaced, Franco said, "If there's restitution to be made, I will make it. I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off."

A March hearing could finalize the deal but other potential victims could still pursue cases against him.

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LAUSD To Resume Some In-Person Tutoring And Child Care Services Next Week

A public elementary school campus in Los Angeles on August 17, 2020 (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

After taking a hiatus during surging COVID-19 cases last semester, the Los Angeles School District will again offer some in-person specialized services starting next week, district Superintendent Austin Beutner announced during a video update Monday.

Child care, special education services, athletic conditioning and small group tutoring will be offered based on the voluntary participation of teachers.

The district also has hopes of a broader reopening for elementary school students by April 9 — as long as coronavirus cases continue to fall and educators recieve vaccinations.


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Gov. Newsom: 1.4 Million Vaccine Doses Coming To California This Week, 1.5 Million Next Week


Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered an update on California's vaccination efforts from a Long Beach vaccination site. Read highlights below or watch the full video above.


Following introductory remarks by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Newsom said that Long Beach has been a leader in vaccinations.

The state has approached nearly 7 and a half million people who've received at least one vaccine dose, Newsom said. There has been an average of nearly 200,000 doses administered each day, with approximately 1.4 million administered over the past week.

California expects to receive approximately 1.4 million doses of vaccine this week and 1.5 million the following week. It received about 1.3 million this past week.

However, the supply of vaccine available is still behind demand and capacity. Newsom noted that, at the Long Beach testing site he was at, they were only running at about a third of capacity due to that lack of availability. He said that this is a manufacturing issue, with the drug companies unable to produce enough of the vaccine to match the capacity of vaccination centers.


Newsom said that there was nothing more important to supporting working women, particularly single working mothers, than safely reopening schools. Newsom praised Mayor Garcia for vaccinating teachers at a level greater than anywhere else, which has allowed Long Beach to set a date for reopening schools. He encouraged other areas to replicate what Long Beach has been doing.

Newsom said that he was in Long Beach to reinforce the example set by Long Beach's leadership when it comes to reopening schools. He stressed the importance of that particularly for children with special needs, foster children, homeless children, and diverse communities where children are not receiving the same level of education via Zoom than they would be if schools were open for in-person instruction.

Newsom said that he hopes what Long Beach has done is replicated across Los Angeles County and around the state. He introduced Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn as well. She joined Newsom in stressing the importance of vaccinating teachers. She also said that she'd like to work with Gov. Newsom to get a bigger allotment of doses in Long Beach since they've done such a good job getting those doses out and administered.


The state's coronavirus positivity rate is now at 3.0%, down from 8.9% 30 days ago. A month ago today, the state reported its highest one-day COVID-19 death toll: 764. There were 233 deaths in California's most recent one-day reporting period. Newsom expressed his condolences for Garcia losing both of his parents to COVID-19 during this pandemic.

There were 23,000 cases reported a month ago, while today there were less than 4,700 new cases reported. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are down 41% and 39% respectively.

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California GOP Tries To Unify At Spring Convention, Looking Ahead To Newsom Recall

Jessica Millan Patterson won reelection for a second term as chair of California's Republican Party on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (Screenshot of CA GOP virtual convention)

California Republicans gathered (virtually) this weekend for the party’s Spring Organizing Convention.

Party leaders expressed confidence that the current effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom would make the ballot this fall, and they talked about plans to win back more seats in the state’s congressional delegation to help flip the House in favor of Republicans in 2022.

Jessica Millan Patterson also won a second term as chair of the state GOP, emphasizing party unity.

“Our California Republican comeback is just getting started,” she declared. “This fall we must — and I mean must — recall Gavin Newsom to save our great state.”

Sponsors must have close to 1.5 million signatures submitted and verified by state election officials by March 17 to trigger a recall.

The most recent report from the Secretary of State’s office shows that as of Feb. 5, the campaign had submitted 1.1 million signatures, and just over 668,000 of those have been verified.


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Morning Brief: Tone Policing, The GOP Split, And Postponed Vaccinations

Heavy clouds are seen above downtown Los Angeles on Thanksgiving day, November 28, 2019. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 22.

Our Racism 101 series solicits questions from our audience — awkward, tough-to-ask, even silly questions — that they've perhaps wanted to ask people unlike themselves, but have been too shy, embarrassed or afraid to.

In this week’s installment, participants Donna Simone Johnson and Carene Mekertichyan talk tone policing; what it means to them, where they see it occur in their lives, and how it affects them.

Mekertichyan notes that tone policing can happen anywhere, at any time — even in unexpected spaces.

“Even on the smaller scale, it's when you're in a room and you're having conversation, and people call you aggressive or they say like, ‘Mmm, could we maybe ... let's think about how we word things,’” Mekertichyan said. “And it’s in those feminist spaces where it's like, ‘Well, let's just focus on all women.’ … There might not even be anything that's specifically ‘wrong’ with, quote-unquote, your tone. It's just that they don't even necessarily want to hear the content that you're sharing.”

Johnson adds that tone policing can frequently serve to silence a critical conversation, and be used as a tool of oppression.

“There's a huge difference between speaking from a passionate place or energetic place or your own emotions and experiences, and being mean or cruel,” she said. “I'm saying [these things] because it hurts. I don't want to be having this conversation. I don't want to be sitting here trying to convince you of the value of my life. I don't want to spend my Saturday outside holding up a sign, and my arms hurt … if you stop me of that in order to make yourself more comfortable, isn't that just contributing to the systems and power to oppress?”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … TV Pilot Club Presents: ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’

(Aesthetics of Crisis via Flickr and Christian Haugen Vis Flickr)

Our new event series brings nostalgia TV superfans together to hash out the highs and lows of some all-time classic premiere episodes. Hosted by LAist Arts and Entertainment reporter Mike Roe, TV Pilot Club takes a deep dive into these small-screen treasures, and answers your questions live.

On March 9, we're heading to Bel-Air. The Fresh Prince moved in with his auntie and uncle in 1990 and burst onto the scene with one of the most iconic theme songs in sitcom history. Rewatch the pilot episode before the event (available on several streaming services) and get ready to talk all about how Will Smith became a star, whether you're hyped for NBC's upcoming reboot, and all things fresh.

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