Critical Workers in Los Angeles, With or Without Symptoms, Can Now Get Tested for Coronavirus

Those eligible include health care professionals, grocery store workers, first responders and critical government personnel, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced

Critical workers on the frontlines in Los Angeles will now be able to get a coronavirus test, beginning on Thursday, even if they are not exhibiting any symptoms, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Wednesday.

“We wish we could open that up to everybody, but I think we all know that we have firefighters and police officers, doctors, nurses, janitors at hospitals, folks that are in grocery stores and pharmacies that are putting themselves out on the line, and we want to make sure that they are healthy, that they have the peace of mind of knowing they’re healthy, and because they interact with so many people, that we can make sure they’re not spreading,” Garcetti said. “It’s a very important milestone on the road to reopening.”

Those eligible for tests include health care professionals, grocery store workers, first responders and critical government personnel, Garcetti said. Until now, those seeking to be tested had to have been exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and cough, meaning asymptomatic carriers of the virus were likely not approved to be tested.

Critical workers should contact their employers to get priority testing or visit coronavirus.lacity.org/testing to sign up for a test at any of the city and county’s 34 testing sites.

Garcetti said that L.A. had the capacity to test 12,200 people on Wednesday and expects to have tested a total of 93,000 people by the end of the day. But the day also proved to be the second-most deadly day for L.A., the mayor also said, with 66 new deaths reported on Wednesday — a 10% increase from Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced that essential surgeries could begin to be scheduled again, 86 new testing sites would be opened in the state’s “testing deserts” to help underserved communities and that he hoped to have the ability to conduct up to 80,000 tests a day in the near future.