Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was set to deliver a coronavirus briefing at 5:15 p.m. Thursday after federal regulators earlier in the week issued a warning on the diagnostic tests used at city testing sites.

The Curative oral swab tests used at L.A. city testing sites carry a risk of false results, particularly false negatives, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in an advisory issued Monday.

The FDA says the tests could lead to infected people having a false sense of security, increasing the risk of spread. People who don’t believe they’re sick could also be delayed in seeking treatment. 

The county’s testing positive rate remains above 20%, which means about 1 in every 5 people tested for the virus are determined infected. But some worry the actual rate could be even higher in light of the FDA warning.

With L.A. County continuing to add new coronavirus cases at an alarming rate following weeks of holiday gatherings, more people are landing in county hospitals with severe symptoms. The county is now averaging 200 deaths a day, according to the Department of Public Health.

In recent weeks, Garcetti had used the briefing to plead with Angelenos to forego holiday celebrations with hospitals overwhelmed as the county experiences uncontrolled spread.

As of Wednesday, more than 8,000 people were battling the disease in hospitals countywide, a new high.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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