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LA Increases Coronavirus Testing Capacity After Appointments Fill Up

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city will immediately scale up testing from 7,700 tests a day to 13,000 tests starting tomorrow (across the seven current city test sites).

The announcement came today as part of the mayor's semi-regular updates on the city's response to COVID-19. It was a response to increased need this week, when testing appointments filled up for several days.

Garcetti added a reminder that those with health insurance can access testing through their health care providers and some CVS pharmacies, free of charge. By law, insurance companies cannot charge a copay, deductible or fee for the coronavirus test.

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"But we know a lot of people rely on the city and county testing sites, which is why we want to scale that up immediately."

He added that the city is also working with private insurance companies to cover more of the cost of testing, so it doesn't come out of taxpayer's pockets.

DIFFICULTY SIGNING UP FOR TESTS

The city has recently been the target of a flood of complaints on social media from residents who say they couldn't get an appointment for a test.

Some people say they sign up for a test for several days days, even though health officials have consistently encouraged people without symptoms to get tested.

But the message has been mixed.

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Last week, county health officials said they would allocate fewer appointment times for people without symptoms, advising these individuals to contact their doctors instead. Today, Garcetti appeared to reverse course, saying city officials have realized how much people depend on the city and countywide testing sites.

Health officials say next-day appointments are available at four COVID-19 testing sites in the city of Los Angeles, including Dodger stadium.

To sign up, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.

RISE IN INFECTIONS

The mayor said that although the county reported only 1,260 new COVID-19 cases today, it was just days ago that the city saw "some of the largest numbers we've seen since this started."

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For more perspective, Garcetti said, one out of every 400 people in L.A. County has been or currently is infected with the coronavirus. The total number of cases is now just under 90,000 in the county, with over 3,000 deaths.

He said that hospitalizatoins have now reached 1,515, which is above recent averages of about 1,350 to 1,450. However, they're still below our peak of over 1,900 in April.

MORE INFECTIONS AMONG YOUNGER AGE GROUPS

The mayor said that the rate of infection is on the rise among younger Angelenos between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. He said 40% of new infections are in this age group. A month ago they accounted for 33%.

He urged people in this age group not to forget that 18-40 year olds are not immune to the disease and that some have died from it.

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"Younger people are deciding maybe they're over COVID-19. Or statistically since they're less likely to die from it, that they can now violate some of the public orders that we have to [not] get together in big groups. [Or maybe they are] just done with the physical distancing and wearing of masks."

He urged people in this age group to get tested.

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