The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to identify additional funding to expand COVID-19 testing—including for take-home test kits—as the number of infections spikes higher.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn co-authored the motion calling for a report back in 14 days on federal and state funding that could be used to buy more antigen, or PCR, tests.
“The county has a massive testing infrastructure in place, with testing sites located in vulnerable communities countywide,” the motion read in part. “However, due to the skyrocketing demand for testing and strained staffing capacity, wait times at some testing locations can often take hours, and some partner sites are not able to offer appointments until days later.”
Both Solis and Hahn were absent from Tuesday’s meeting while meeting with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but the motion passed on a 3-0 vote without comment along with dozens of other agenda items.
On Monday, Hahn issued a statement calling for the county to deploy disaster service workers and open up more testing locations—including county health clinics and libraries—to meet the growing demand.
“It is unacceptable how long our residents have had to wait or how far they have had to drive just to get tested for COVID-19 these past few weeks,” Hahn said Monday. “L.A. County needs to treat this demand for testing with urgency. I am urging the county to deploy our disaster service workers and calling on our Department of Health Services to set up testing sites at L.A. County Libraries and health clinics.”
During earlier surges, the county pressed a wide range of employees into temporary service as emergency workers. The Solis-Hahn motion did not directly address that possibility.
Also on Monday, the county Department of Health Services announced that take-home tests would be made available, while supplies last, for residents unable to get appointments as the demand for tests increases during a dramatic upswing in infections due to the Omicron variant.
Residents can pick up a PCR test kit at one of 13 testing sites without an appointment, complete the test on their own and return the completed kit to one of several designated locations for processing.
Residents are expected to be notified of test results—which cover both COVID-19 and the flu—within 24-48 hours.
A test kit-by-mail program that was suspended last week due to lack of supplies was expected to be restarted this week.
The county has also increased the hours and days of operations for testing sites and added mobile testing units. Information on locations for free pick-up testing kits is available at https://covid19.lacounty.gov/la-county-pick-up-testing-kit-program/.