The Los Angeles Police Department wants to test everyone its officers arrest to determine whether they are infected with the coronavirus and is asking city officials to purchase a rapid-result testing system.
But it’s unclear whether such a system will produce accurate test results.
Police Chief Michel Moore told the department's civilian oversight body last week that jails are testing all new arrivals, but the results take days to come back, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He said real-time data from a rapid-result test would help authorities isolate sick detainees, keep others detained in local jails safe and quickly alert officers to any potential exposure.
More than 350 inmates in Los Angeles County jails have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 100 LAPD officers and staff have been infected.
Moore told the Police Commission he wants to place four of the test machines at detainee intake locations around the city. However, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city was still looking into the status of such testing.
Recent studies have raised doubts about the accuracy of rapid-result tests for the coronavirus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert last week about one major manufacturer’s test potentially returning false negatives.
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For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for up to three weeks. The vast majority recover. Some older adults and people with existing health problems can experience severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.