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LA Will Now Let More People Apply For Coronavirus Testing

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Public health officials have been saying for months that testing is vital to tracking and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But mishaps and supply shortages limited testing to the highest risk patients — those over 65 and those with underlying medical conditions.

But testing capacity in Los Angeles may be finally catching up. In his nightly address on the city's response to the pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that anyone in the city or county can now apply for a test to see if they have the coronavirus.

That doesn't mean an applicant will be approved, but it does mean the restrictions have been loosened and that you won't be automatically disqualified just because you're not considered high risk, according to Garcetti.

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You can apply for a test at coronavirus.la city.org.

The mayor said the city and county will be on track to complete a total of 36,000 tests by the end of the week between government and health care provider testing.

But he also urged people to continue staying at home as the city and county head into what could be a grim few weeks.

Earlier, L.A. County public health officials warned that this could be a "critical week," and that we could see a big increase in confirmed cases and deaths before cases peak and we see a "flattening of the curve" in mid-April. Garcetti warned it could be longer, estimating that cases will peak more likely in late April or the beginning of May "if we keep with physical distancing — if we don't keep with physical distancing, everybody's bets are off."

Garcetti said Angelenos are mostly complying with the Safer at Home order but could still do better. A company that tracks how much people are moving around in different regions last week gave L.A. County a C grade, after people flocked to beaches and parks in defiance of the state and local orders. This weekend, L.A.'s grade came back up — barely. It's now a B-, Garcetti said.

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Here are a few other takeaways from tonight's address:

  • The L.A. Fire Department has had 13 positive cases — 12 sworn personnel and 1 civilian
  • LAFD is using a new tele-medicine program for some emergency calls. That means 911 dispatch can transfer callers to a doctor rather than sending first responders, and the doctor can help assess the patient via FaceTime
  • LAPD has had 47 personnel test positive so far, and 250 have been quarantined as a precaution after possibly coming into close contact with someone who was sick
  • 722 non-essential businesses have been visited by LAPD for failing to comply with closure orders — 92% of them ultimately complied
  • 37 businesses have been referred for prosecution

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