When you drive into the city of Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium test site, there is almost no line and no wait. That’s a far cry from the scene there in July, when cars waited more than two hours to snake through the line for passengers to get a COVID-19 test.
“We have literally thousands of unused appointment slots, said Dr. Christina Ghaly, health services director for LA County. “People are getting their test results in a day, sometimes two days on average.”
Back in the summer, as COVID-19 was soaring in Southern California, people often had to log on to try for days before snagging an appointment.
In July, 130,000 people were getting tested weekly in LA County. But now that the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped, only 74,000 people are getting tested weekly.
The wide availability of appointments is worrisome to county health officials, who believe the public is getting complacent about COVID-19.
“We are worried that that’s the case. We very much want to keep those testing rates up. That’s what’s needed to keep transmission down,” Ghaly told the I-Team.
There are now at least 173 public and private test sites in LA County, many now offering tests the same day as you make an appointment.
Health officials expect demand for COVID-19 testing to increase again when flu season hits in October or November, so they plan to offer a “double test” at LA County operated test sites.
“You get tested actually for the flu and for COVID at the same time. So that we can be able to inform people which virus they have, or of course if it’s possible still that people might have both,” Ghaly said.