A drive-through testing site for COVID-19 will begin operations Wednesday at the East Los Angeles College campus in Monterey Park, county authorities confirmed Tuesday.

The site is being operated through a partnership between the county, the college and the Edward Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles, County Supervisor Hilda Solís said during the county’s daily coronavirus update. Testing will be free for everyone; seniors and people with underlying health conditions will be prioritized.

Solís said the ELAC site is part of a countywide effort to ramp up testing availability and that she expected to finalize, by the end of the week, a partnership with AltaMed and Presbyterian Hospital “to increase testing capacity at their locations in South Gate, Commerce, Pico Rivera and West Covina.

The supervisor said the new sites will help fill a need for more testing availability in East Los Angeles and throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

“As you can see, we are approaching testing through a regional lens that prioritizes equity,” Solís said, addressing media reports about disparity in care in some underserved communities.

“I’m also concerned about reports showing racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and fatalities,” she added. “We must collect better data to identify and address the disparities in LA County.”

For the first time since LA County began offering daily reports on COVID-19 cases and related deaths last month, authorities on Tuesday began breaking down statistics by gender and race or ethnicity.

At Tuesday’s update, Public Health director Barbara Ferrer also addressed the issue of disparity.

“We are in fact looking at data around testing,” Ferrer said. “One thing we know is that testing is happening much less in communities where most of the people are living in poverty and close to poverty, and that people who are living in wealthier communities have had better access and have been tested more than people who are living in communities where income levels are much lower.”

Ferrer said her department would be producing a complete report on access to lab testing by the beginning of next week.

Who can get tested and how

On Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that any LA County resident who has symptoms can now get tested at any one of 13 county sites, including seven within the city limits. Testing was previously limited to those 65 and older, and those with compromised immune systems.

According to the city’s testing web site, same or next day testing appointments are prioritized for individuals over 65, or who have underlying chronic health conditions.

To schedule an appointment at one of these centers, people are asked to go to coronavirus.lacity.org/testing or call 211.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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