LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles will double its mobile COVID-19 testing teams in an effort to increase the local response to cases of the novel coronavirus at senior living facilities, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday.
Starting Monday, six mobile testing teams, along with county health professionals, will be dispatched to facilities with symptomatic residents.
“We going to continue focusing on those places that can be death traps,” Garcetti said. “If people have, as we’ve seen across the country, surges of cases among our most vulnerable seniors, we know it can be devastating.”
Garcetti said about 74% of people who have died from the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County were 65 or older, and reiterated that about 30% of all deaths have occurred at senior living facilities.
The mayor also said that hygiene stations and testing capacity in Skid Row have been increased, noting that nearly 500 people experiencing homelessness in that neighborhood have been tested for COVID-19.
Garcetti also announced a $5 million donation from the Consulate General of the State of Qatar in Los Angeles to expand the Angeleno Card program to even more low-income residents.
“The people of Qatar have helped out this country in other emergencies during Katrina and Harvey,” Garcetti said. “This generous gift will save lives.”
More than 1,100 prepaid debit cards have been distributed to people who qualified, with amounts ranging from $700 to $1,500. Prior to the donation, the city had the capacity to distribute roughly 10,000 cards.
With the donation, Garcetti said the city will be able to distribute a total of roughly 15,000 cards.
Applications were accepted last week, and Garcetti said about 185,000 eligible Angelenos applied for the program.