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New COVID-19 Testing Updates from Los Angeles Department of Health Opens Eligibility to Asymptomatic Individuals
By Betti Halsell, Contributing Writer
Published May 1, 2020

Christina Ghaly, MD, Director, Health Services. (screenshot)

Thursday, April 30. Los Angeles Public Officials provided news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. L.A. is entering phase two of the California state governor’s four-phase plan to open the economy system. Director of Health Christina Ghaly provided clarification and new information regarding testing guidelines at the local testing sites. The Department of Health Services is the entity responsible for testing operations within the Los Angeles County.

The plan to a foreseeable future in the post pandemic era was revealed earlier by the California State Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles is looking to open low risk brick-and-mortars within the next coming weeks. The four-phase plan Governor Gavin Newsom outlined included financial safety and preparedness, opening lower risk workplaces, moving on to opening higher risk workplaces, and then finally ending the stay at home order. However, it has been noted that there is a likelihood of a coronavirus spike amid the four phases to recovery. There is no set timetable for the plan to conclude, but the start date has been established, the second phase is looking to take place in a few weeks.

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Chair Pro Tem, First District (Screenshot)

The L.A. Emergency Operations Center addressed the concern for food security throughout all communities. Supervisor Hilda Solis stated, “Having enough healthy food is crucial to everyone’s health,” she continued, “Unfortunately many people do not have food, there are residents going hungry right now…” This is due to the economic hardships that are currently being experienced, the city council member suggested to apply for CALFresh. Los Angeles Public Officials also showed concern about vaccinations, they urge the city, in all age groups, to get vaccinated. However, the focal point is to stay healthy, everyone should do the proper research for what method of preventative care is right for them.

Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director, Public Health. (screenshot)

Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Director of Public Health shared the latest updates on the COVID-19 Virus.  Ferrer shared Thursday, April 30. there were 55 additional deaths, 35 of these individuals were between the ages of 65 and over, 29 of them with underlining health conditions. 8 people who died were between the ages of 41-65, 4 of these victims had preexisting health concerns. 3 people were younger than 41, with 2 of them having underlining health issues.

This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in the L.A. County to 1,111. Barbara disclosed as of April 30. There were 733 new COVID-19 reports. In summary, there is a total amount of 23,182 coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles region. 92% of fatal cases, have had underlining health concerns, it is very crucial for those who have preexisting health problems to stay inside.

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For the 1,020 fatal cases where race and ethnicity were identified; 13% were African American, 19% were Asian, 38% were LatinX, 28% were white, and 1% were identified as another ethnicity. The Public Health Services claim that they are working with community partners to address issues related to access to testing and providing accurate information around COVID-19.

Director of public Health Christina Ghaly shared updated protocols, taking place within testing sites across Los Angeles. The Department of Health lead the operations of local testing sites and new adjustments have been made with these programs. Christina Stated, “The county has the responsibility of protecting and supporting the health of over ten million people.” The goal is to have equitable access to tests for everyone in the county. There is particular focus on at-risk populations, COVID-19 testing is being used as a tool to provide information for the individual being tested and the medical services that assist them.

Testing is still limited, but the testing operation centers are adjusting to test those within vulnerable populations who are asymptomatic; those are people who may have contracted the virus but show no indication of having it. Anyone with the nine symptoms of coronavirus, essential workers, and those over the age of 65 are all eligible for testing.  The information from testing is playing a crucial role of re-opening Los Angeles, on a state and local level it plays as a lighthouse guiding everyone to a new normal.

Categories: COVID-19 | Local | News
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