Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Tuesday that construction workers, even those without symptoms, will be eligible for free COVID-19 tests at any of the 34 testing sites in LA County starting Wednesday and that the city had agreed to purchase 24 million N95 masks.
A day earlier, the mayor had announced that transportation workers, including rideshare drivers, taxi drivers and delivery drivers without symptoms, were eligible for free COVID-19 tests, calling them "frontline" workers.
Coronavirus testing had already been expanded to critical workers, including first responders, without symptoms and to anyone with symptoms within the county.
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The mayor said the testing procedure is a mouth swab, which requires a person to cough and then swab the inside of the mouth, not the long swab up the nose. The 34 locations in the county have helped increase testing capacity to 16,400 people per day.
"I hope that in the coming weeks we can open up asymptomatic testing to all Angelenos," Garcetti said.
The mayor added, "Every day, we are adding more and more people who are asymptomatic."
Additionally, the mayor announced that the city of Los Angeles signed an agreement with Honeywell to buy 24 million N95 masks made in the United States. The first 100,000 masks will be delivered in May and will be distributed the first responders, the mayor said. The agreement calls for 1.2 million N95 masks delivered per month by November.
The masks will also be sold to hospitals at cost, which was 79 cents, Garcetti said.
The mayor also reminded residents that the masks are for medical professionals and people with preexisting conditions, imploring them not to buy N95 masks and contribute to the current shortage.
In addition, the mayor said 65,000 non-medical-grade masks had been
given out to outreach workers and homeless people on Skid Row to help
prevent the spread of COVID-19.