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L.A. County-Supported Testing Sites Continue To Expand; Targeting Vulnerable Communities
By Betti Halsell Contributing Writer
Published August 3, 2020

Monday, August 3, Los Angeles received updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. To meet high demand for testing, the county continues to expand COVID-19 testing sites. They are planting them in areas where residents could be at high-risk. Los Angeles Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer disclosed the recent numbers behind the spread of coronavirus. County officials provided their plans to navigate through the ongoing battle against coronavirus.

Chairwoman Kathryn Barger disclosed that the County is looking to expand testing accessibility in communities where people are most susceptible to the virus. This includes areas such as Montebello, South Gate, and Panorama City. Over 1.7 million people in L.A. have been tested with a 10% positivity rate.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair, Fifth District (screen shot)

Barger also addressed the effects of COVID-19 on small business, there are over 100,000 unemployment claims filed in California during this pandemic. Employers and employees are still struggling, Barger shared that the L.A. Regional COVID Fund will provide small grants to eligible businesses, non-profits, and micro-enterprises.

The L.A. Public Health Department remains on high alert, the trends surrounding coronavirus continue to fluctuate. Dr. Ferrer confirmed that closing in-door dining and bars worked; latest numbers are reflecting signs that Los Angeles is breaking the speed of increased cases. Ferrer emphasized the main goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Recent statistics reflect 12 additional deaths, two of these individuals were over the age of 80 with underlining health conditions. Four people who died were between the ages of 65-79, two victims had preexisting health concerns. Three individuals were between the ages of 50-64, two of them had underlining health problems.  Two people who passed were between the ages of 30-49 and they both had previous medical issues. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in L.A. County to 4,701.

The relationship between COVID-19 infection and ethnicity were provided. The racial background collected from 4,397 fatal cases showed 11% were African American, 15% were Asian, slightly less than 1% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 48% were LatinX, 25% were White, and 1% identified as a different race or ethnicity. 92% of those who died due to COVID-19 had preexisting health concerns.

There were 1,634 new COVID-19 reports. In summary, there is a total amount of 193,788 coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles region. 8,285 incidents were reported in the city of Long Beach and 2,004 cases in the city of Pasadena. Amid the unsheltered, there were 1,120 positive cases, with 363 victims were temporarily housed in a shelter and properly isolated.

L.A. County testing sites have the capacity to test up to 55,000 Angelenos per week. This has been over a 40,000-slot increase, the mission for this additional threshold is to improve the coverage in vulnerable neighborhoods. One of the new sites is located at the MLK Medical Campus, it will accommodate walk-up and drive-up testing services. In additional to that facility, there will be a testing site at California State University and Hawthorne Memorial Center.

The County remains very adamant about bringing more testing to communities that are high at risk.  Released in the County press release, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas  stated, “We are focused and committed to reducing the disparities of COVID-related illness across our communities of color and these additional sites are an important step, among broader efforts, to expand access to testing and halt the spread of this disease, while this virus doesn’t discriminate, many of our vulnerable communities are bearing a heavier burden.  We will continue to take every step necessary to address the underlying economic and other factors driving this epidemic.”

Director of the Department of Health Services Dr. Christina Ghaly said, “Expanding testing capacity among the communities that need it most is one of our top priorities as we address the impact of COVID-19 here in LA County, this is an equity and access issue and a big step in the right direction as we strengthen our support for vulnerable communities.”

Categories: COVID-19 | News
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