LA County opens largest virus testing site at Dodger Stadium

The parking lot at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 26 was opened up as the largest testing site in the county, allowing up to 6,000 individuals to now be tested each day. | AJPress photo by Christina M. Oriel

MORE Los Angeles County residents can get checked for the coronavirus as the area’s largest testing site opened on Tuesday, May 26 at Dodger Stadium.

Up to 6,000 people are now able to go through the drive-thru process on a daily basis, allowing the county to test more individuals than it has in the past 10 weeks.

“That’s three times larger than any testing site that we have. And we’ve designed the site to move as many people as quickly through that site as possible, alleviating long wait times and long lines,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference on Tuesday morning ahead of the site’s opening.

Around 450,000 people have been tested at drive-thru sites in the city since March, he added. Dodger Stadium is one of 10 testing locations in the city and 36 in the county.

In partnership with the county, LA Fire Department, the Dodgers and Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), LA is able to continue providing free COVID-19 tests to anyone regardless if they are exhibiting symptoms. It previously became the first major city in the country to offer testing to all its residents.

“This builds on our work we’ve been doing [over the] past weeks and months,” Garcetti said. “We want testing to be easy, accessible and free for everybody here in Los Angeles.”

Testing is by appointment only on the city’s website, but priority for the same or next day testing is still given to those who have symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, or a new loss of sense of smell. Additionally, front line workers are also prioritized.

The Dodger Stadium site allows individuals to remain in their cars while large screens provide instructions on how to administer the mouth swab test.

Results come back anywhere between three to five days via email or phone.

Large screens at Dodger Stadium provide instructions on how to administer the COVID-19 test while sitting in your car. | AJPress photo by Christina M. Oriel

The county on Tuesday reported 1,843 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 additional deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases to 47,822 and 2,143 fatalities.

The county’s Public Health Department said that the latest tally comprises the highest number of cases reported in a day as some of the cases are from a backlog of test results.

Of the new deaths, 20 individuals were over the age of 65 years old; six people were between the ages of 41 and 65; and one person was between 18 to 40 years old.

Further, 17 people had underlying health conditions including 11 people over the age of 65 years old and six people between the ages of 41 to 65 years old.

Information about race and ethnicity has been made available for 99% of cases: 39% of deaths occurred among Latino residents; 29% among White residents, 17% among Asians; 12% among African Americans and 1% among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.

Nearly 50% of the county’s deaths took place in skilled nursing facilities (47%). To date, the residents and staff at 157 facilities have been tested for the virus, while 68 more are being scheduled.

“As improved infection control practices and testing have increased over the last month, deaths among residents in nursing homes have dropped from 174 deaths for the week ending May 2, to 60 deaths for the week ending May 23. We continue to work with our partners to ensure that all facilities protect employees and residents,” county health director Barbara Ferrer said.

Meanwhile down in Orange County, the total number of positive cases rose to 5,578 as 110 new incidences were reported. The death toll remains at 131.

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is an award-winning editor and communications strategist based in Los Angeles with experience in content, strategy and branding for media ecosystems, inclusive fintech startups, small businesses and direct-to-consumer products.

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