It’s All About Testing

The inaugural drive-thru COVID-19 testing started Wednesday morning at the Rose Bowl. Eighty-nine people signed up for Wednesday’s test in conjunction with Huntington Hospital. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

Pasadena’s first drive-thru testing site begins

By Terry Miller

On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest questions remains to be seen.  How do we, as average citizens, get tested?

Much like the real estate slogan, “Location, location, location,” COVID-19 testing appears to follow that mantra. To find tests, it’s often a question of where you live.

If you listen to the White House, testing is available to everyone no matter where you live. However, as patients across the country have discovered, it is easier said than done.

The City of Pasadena Wednesday offered the first drive-thru testing at the Rose Bowl. The limited testing was available for only 100 qualified individuals who met the medical criteria. The results of the local testing will take approximately five days.

Wednesday’s testing is just the beginning according to the interim fire chief. Pasadena plans on doing the testing at the Rose Bowl for the next 30 days except on weekends. For more information and FAQs, go to covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.

Though lack of testing and results backlog is a nationwide problem, The Atlantic says “California is its known epicenter. Over the past week, the most populous state in the union—where the country’s first case of community transmission was identified, in late February—has managed to complete an average of only 2,136 tests each day, far fewer than other similarly populous states, according to our tracking data. Yet California also reports that more than 57,400 people have pending test results. Tens of thousands of Californians have been swabbed for the virus, but their samples have not yet been examined in a lab.”

We requested up-to-date information from two major local hospitals about the number of patients they are currently treating for COVID-19.

According to Dorey Huston, Huntington Hospital spokesperson, “After careful deliberation, our hospital has decided to publish select, anonymized information about its COVID-19 patient population regularly on its website to help the public better understand the extent of this unprecedented health crisis in our service area. Please review our website for more information, www.huntingtonhospital.org .”

Brian Green, director, Marketing and Business Development at Methodist Hospital had this to say: “Methodist Hospital is currently treating nine confirmed COVID-19 patients. This week, we look to maintain our ability to care for all patients, including additional COVID-19 patients, who seek care at Methodist Hospital. We have no current plans to perform drive-thru testing at Methodist Hospital.”

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help in making decisions about seeking care or testing, according to the CDC:

  • Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus.
  • Testing results may be helpful to inform decision-making about who you come in contact with.

CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. The CDC says if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, “try calling your state or local health department or a medical provider.”

OmniPathology late last month announced the launch of its COVID-19 Lab Developed Test LDT. In response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy announcement on Feb. 29, 2020, seeking high complexity laboratories to start developing diagnostic tests for coronavirus to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Recognizing the urgent need for a new COVID-19 test, OmniPathology reallocated all its research and development resources to develop the new test. 

The Omni-COVID-19 test will use real-time PCR technology and will be performed on the Becton Dickinson BD-Max system using its open access feature. The test will be performed on swabs collected by physicians, nurses and other licensed healthcare professionals. The test will take two hours and the initial capacity will be 110 tests per day. As national needs continue, OmniPathology will be capable of potentially increasing its throughput to more than 550 tests per day.

“This fast response by OmniPathology and its team is a testament to the company’s commitment to its role as a leading laboratory and its understanding of its responsibility in finding solutions to this national crisis,” said Mohammad Kamal, MD Founder and CEO of OmniPathology. “This test will be available to our local community in Pasadena and Los Angeles with results available on the same day and up to 24 hours. We are working with local health authorities to ensure tests are offered to those who are most in need according to the most recent guidelines.” 

While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find a place to get tested.

Find a COVID-19 testing location near you

We’ve compiled a partial list of clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pop-up testing centers currently offering COVID-19 testing:

AltaMed
1300 S. Sunset Ave., West Covina
Call: (888) 499-9303 or (562) 205-4309

Kaiser Permanente – Pasadena Urgent Care
3280 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena 91107 CA
Call: (833) 574-2273

Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center
1011 Baldwin Park Blvd., Baldwin Park 91706 CA
Call: (833) 574-2273

Kindred Hospital Baldwin Park
14148 Francisquito Ave., Baldwin Park 91706 CA

Citrus Valley Medical Center – Qv Campus
1115 South Sunset Ave., West Covina 91790 CA
Call: (626) 388-2700

San Gabriel Valley Medical Center
438 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel 91776 CA
(626) 289-5454

Citrus Valley Medical Center
210 W. San Bernardino Road, Covina 91723 CA
Call: (626) 331-7331

Garfield Medical Center
525 N. Garfield Ave., Monterey Park 91754 CA
Call: (626) 573-2222

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