coronavirus

Officials Encourage COVID Testing, But Now Admit There Are No Testing Appointments Available

LA County operates other sites and says more appointments will soon become available, including later Tuesday.

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After facing questions from the NBC4 I-Team, Los Angeles County and city Tuesday admitted in a joint statement that there are currently no available appointments to test for COVID-19 at public sites.

For months, county officials and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti have said repeatedly that tests are available for anyone who wants one, whether or not they had symptoms.

Those officials have also said widespread testing is one of the keys to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. But the county and city statement said "all available appointments this week are full."

"The lack of availability is primarily due to LA city not opening slots for registration… as they migrate to a new vendor and registration platform; in addition to paring back testing sites and slots," the statement said.

For days, the NBC4 I-Team has been investigating complaints from people who tried to get tested but couldn't get appointments, like 20-year old Austin Geller of Los Angeles.

"I felt like it was the responsible thing to do because I've been around so many people lately," said Geller, who had taken part in recent protests and as a musician, had been to practice sessions with other people.

But he couldn't get an appointment when he started trying last Thursday. His relatives contacted the I-Team to investigate.

At one point, when I-Team producers logged on to the site, a message popped up saying there were no appointments available for people "without COVID symptoms."

Minutes later, a different message popped up saying there were no appointments for people "with COVID symptoms."

This morning the I-Team asked Garcetti's office to explain what was happening with the testing website, but we've received no reply.

Out at Dodger Stadium, one of the city's main testing sites, numerous workers told the I-Team Tuesday the website has been "down."

There was no word yet from the city of LA when new appointments will become available at its sites.

LA County operates other sites and says more appointments will soon become available, including later Tuesday.

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