Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that LA will become the first major city in the United States to offer free COVID-19 testing for all residents, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
All LA County residents with or without symptoms are eligible for a free test at LA city sites, the mayor said.
"Los Angeles will become the first major city in America to offer wide scale testing to all of its residents with or without symptoms," Garcetti said.
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The mayor said priority would be given to people who have symptoms.
"We have the capacity, so don't wait, don't wonder and don't risk infecting others," the mayor said. "This is a really important step to prepare for other steps forward in the weeks to come."
The California city has the capacity to test 18,000 people per day, Garcetti said.
In recent days, the mayor had expanded testing to asymptomatic workers in various industries that continue to function during the Safer-at-Home order, including first responders, construction workers, delivery drivers and ride share drivers.
On Wednesday, the mayor announced the next step and opened testing to all residents.
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Garcetti added, "Making testing available to anyone who wants it is essential."
The COVID-19 test is not the nasal swab. Instead, people are asked to cough with masks on three times into the shoulder facing away from the health care worker. Then, the person being tested takes a swab and collects particles inside the cheeks, roof of the mouth and under the tongue for 20 seconds before placing the swab into a plastic container and handing it the health care workers.
Many of the site in LA County are drive-in, so a person being tested received the bag that contains the swab and plastic container through a crack in the window, performs the test in a car and then returns the test kit to the workers on site, who use an instrument to collect the completed test and avoid further possible exposure.