The city and county of Los Angeles Wednesday opened up thousands of free appointments for COVID-19 testing, a day after the NBC4 I-Team revealed there were no available tests this week even though many people were trying to book them.
LA County said the lack of appointments was because the city and county were migrating their appointments system to a new platform.
"Those problems are now resolved. The city has made open again, a number of testing site slots and there are hundreds if not thousands of appointments that are available,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, LA County's director of health services.
But many people--frustrated by being unable to get a slot at public sites--are now turning to the dozens of private sites across southern California which are offering coronavirus testing, like the 60 CVS pharmacies which have drive-through testing.
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"There is no cost to the patient. If you have insurance, your insurance company covers it, and if you do not have insurance, it’s actually covered by HHS (Dept of Health and Human Services)," says CVS Regional Director Reza Mohammadkhani.
Urgent cares across LA are also offering COVID-19 tests, such as Exer Urgent Care in Sherman Oaks. But if you don't have insurance, those urgent cares will charge you $240 out of pocket.
LA County says there are now 104 different public and private sites in the county offering testing. The timing couldn't be better, as numbers of new cases are rising in California--especially among younger people aged 18-40.
“I don’t believe we know yet entirely what that’s from. Is it related to reopening? Is it related to protests? Is it related to some other difference in how the virus has evolved?" LA County's Dr. Ghaly told the I-Team.