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Free Coronavirus Tests Offered at Santa Monica College, as County Results Approach 215,000
 

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By Jorge Casuso

May 8, 2020 -- A walk-up facility that offers free coronavirus tests for those with appointments opened at Santa Monica College (SMC) on Thursday, as Los Angeles County neared 215,000 test results.

The testing at SMC's Airport Arts Campus, 2800 Airport Avenue, is part of Governor Newsom’s expanded testing capacity to reopen California and helps fulfill the County's commitment to provide expanded access to testing for county residents.

The tests -- which take several seconds -- are offered five days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. An appointment is required, although those who drop in can schedule a test for the following day only.

“As the County begins a slow and measured process of re-opening businesses and other establishments, testing will be a critical component for measuring the results," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents Santa Monica.

"People can conveniently monitor whether they have the virus and be better able to protect their own health and the health of those they love,” Kuehl said.

The tests are easy to schedule and quick to complete, said SMC Superintendent Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, who had no symptoms but wanted to see how the testing works.

“Registering online was easy," Jeffery said. "I was in and out in about 15 minutes from my appointment time to the finish of the test, which took only a few seconds.”

Appointments are scheduled on a first come, first served basis, and test results can take up to 2 to 3 days.

Individuals who test positive will be notified by a phone call. Negative test results can be accessed by logging into a secure website. To schedule a COVID test click here.

The SMC test site -- opened by the County Department of Health Services in coordination with the State of California, OptumServe and SMC -- is part of a countywide effort to boost testing capacity.

As of Friday, results were available for nearly 215,000 individuals, 12 percent of whom have tested positive for the virus, County health officials said.

To date, there have been 30,298 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county of 10 million, health officials said. A total of 1,468 people had the virus when they died.

There have been 206 cases confirmed in Santa Monica and 11 deaths, according to the County data released Friday.

A total of 139 cases -- 90 among residents and 45 among staff -- have been reported at six local nursing homes, and 16 residents have died.

County data does not indicate if any of the nursing home residents who have died are among the 11 Santa Monica residents included in the city's death toll.

LA County health officials reported 883 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 51 new deaths.

Of those who died, 43 had underlying health conditions of 39 were over the age of 65.

Ninety-two percent of those who have died had underlying health conditions, which include cancer treatment, smoking, diabetes, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies and severe obesity.

The virus is likely much more widespread than the number of cases confirmed by the County indicates.

A groundbreaking study released last month based on anti-body testing found the total number of infected residents in LA County was likely 28 to 55 times higher than the number of cases confirmed by health officials.

The fatality rate was also much lower than County officials had thought ("Coronavirus Fatality Rate 'Much Lower' Than Previously Thought, LA County Health Officials Say," April 20, 2020).

Coronavirus deaths include all those who had the virus when they died, according to the standard being used by health officials nationwide.

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