What to Know About Drive-Up COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

- Courtesy image / L.A. County

The County of Los Angeles is partnering with cities across the county to develop a network of drive-up, mobile testing sites. They are also helping increase resources for local health centers that have begun testing for COVID-19, and are integrating them into the countywide network.

To find out if you’re eligible for a test and to schedule an appointment at a drive-up mobile testing site in Los Angeles County, please click here.

How are COVID-19 testing sites determined?

Initially, sites have been determined by geographic location. The goal is to develop a network of testing sites across the region.  The City of Los Angeles selected four sites within the city’s boundaries. When the County-City partnership began last week, Dr. Clayton Kazan from Los Angeles County’s Fire Department wanted to ensure accessibility for all Los Angeles County residents. He picked sites that are geographically spread out:

  • High Desert Medical Group (Lancaster).
  • Glendale Memorial Hospital (Glendale).
  • Pomona Fairplex (Gate 17, West McKinley Avenue and Fairplex Drive, Pomona).
  • Antelope Valley Mall (1233 Rancho Vista Blvd., Palmdale).
  • South Bay Galleria (815 Hawthorne Blvd., Redondo Beach).

More communities will host sites soon.

Dr. Kazan has and continues to reach out to healthcare stakeholders all across Los Angeles County. Where centers have begun their own testing programs, he looks to support and scale their efforts, ensure that they have adequate supplies, and merge them into the network. Currently, that network is housed at coronavirus.lacity.org/testing.

When will testing sites start working?

The Glendale Memorial Hospital testing site (Glendale) and the High Desert Medical Group site (Lancaster) are open as of April 1, 2020.

Beginning April 3, 2020, testing sites will open at each of the three following locations: at the Fairplex (Pomona), the South Bay Galleria (Redondo Beach), and the Antelope Valley Mall (Palmdale). Additional sites in Northridge, Long Beach, and Lancaster are presently being confirmed.

Other cities are stepping up as well. City/County test site planners are in talks with the Cities of West Hollywood, Malibu, and Calabasas. They are also working with the city of Pasadena and Huntington Memorial Hospital to open a site at the Rose Bowl. The goal is to increase testing capacity as quickly as possible in Los Angeles County to meet the community’s needs – which are growing every day.

How can I get tested?

Anyone who is interested in getting tested must first register on the screening website, coronavirus.lacity.org/Testing. This first step will determine if you are eligible to be tested.

You will be asked to answer basic questions including name, date of birth, address, and whether you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. After you answer all of the screening questions, the website (in real time) determines your testing eligibility and will identify the nearest testing site.

Who gets priority for testing? Am I eligible?

At this time, COVID-19 testing is limited to the most vulnerable Los Angeles County residents who are:

  • 65 and older; and/or
  • Have underlying health conditions including:
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Moderate to severe asthma
    • People who are immunocompromised, including as a result of cancer treatment; and/or
    • Have been subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period because they have been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have more than seven days of the two-week quarantine period remaining.

What should I do if I’m experiencing severe symptoms?

If you or a family member are experiencing severe symptoms, please call your doctor. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

Can I just show up at a testing site?

No, tests are by appointment only. Each testing client must give their registration number, which is generated by the screening website coronavirus.lacity.org/Testing.

What does the test consist of? How long does it take?

There are two types of tests: a nasal swab and an oral swab. The nasal swab is administered by hospital or fire department staff. The oral swabs are self-administered, meaning clients must swab their own mouths/throats using instructions provided to them at the site. The testing process takes between five and 10 minutes, but waiting times may vary.

What do I do if all of the appointment times are full?

The county is reportedly adding more testing sites. Check the website to see when additional testing sites and appointments become available.

How far in advance can I schedule a test appointment?

Test appointments are available for the following day only.

How do I cancel my test appointment?

You do not need to do anything to cancel your testing appointment. If you do not show up, the test will be reallocated to another client.

When do I need to arrive for my test appointment?

Arrive at the scheduled time listed on your confirmation email.

Can I have other people in my car when I arrive for testing?

Yes, but do not expose others if you suspect you are ill. Only those with confirmed appointments will be tested.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for my test appointment?

Do not eat or drink anything 20 minutes before your testing appointment.

Are all the sites “drive-up,” or do I have to go inside a medical center?

All locations are drive-up mobile testing sites. Other healthcare provider agencies do offer testing inside clinics, but these sites are designed for you to stay in your vehicle for your convenience and for the safety of the healthcare staff.

Do I have to get out of my car?

No, tests will be done while you remain in your vehicle.

What if I don’t have a car?

You will still be tested. The sites accommodate pedestrian traffic, as long as the patient has an appointment.

Will each site have the same test?

No, some sites administer the nasal test, some administer the oral tests, and some administer both. It depends on the site’s staff and the kits available.

Does it cost anything to get a test?

No. There are no out-of-pocket costs to be tested.

How long does it take to get test results?

The county estimates between three to four days. Positive results are shared by phone, negative results are shared through email. During that time, it is essential that the sick person remains at home in isolation. They should arrange for others to provide groceries, medicines, etc. whenever possible to avoid exposing others. Even if the test is negative, the sick person should remain at home until any fever has resolved and any other symptoms are significantly improved. For more information and resources, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov.

How many clients can the testing sites serve in a day?

Depending on size and staff, each site can test between 100 to 500 individuals per day, once the site is fully operational. The sites’ capacity for testing will increase. For example, on April 1, 2020 in Glendale, 96 clients were tested. These daily numbers will scale up and continue to grow.

Are there goals for how any tests can be performed in a day?

The goal is to test 10,000 clients per day throughout Los Angeles County. This is based on the current partnerships the County has developed so far.

Who staffs the testing sites?

The sites in the City of Los Angeles are staffed by the Los Angeles Fire Department. The sites located at hospitals and medical group campuses are staffed by hospital personnel. At other sites (including Antelope Valley Mall, South Bay Galleria, and the Fairplex), staff are from hospitals, healthcare organizations, disaster service workers, and members of the County of Los Angeles Fire Department.

How were testing sites developed and set up?

Drive-up mobile testing sites were developed by collaborating with health systems. The County of Los Angeles partnered with Dignity Health, for example, to develop the Glendale and Northridge sites. The Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) and Providence are the partners for the South Bay Galleria site. The Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and Casa Colina Hospital are assisting with the site at the Fairplex.  Antelope Valley Hospital and Palmdale Regional Medical Center are assisting with site at the Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale.

Where can I get more information?

Visit coronavirus.lacity.org/Testing and publichealth.lacounty.gov.

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