LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As more people get vaccinated, fewer are getting tested for COVID-19.
Frank Ticheli, a composer and music professor at the University of Southern California, is one of those who have been vaccinated, but was still required to get a COVID-19 test before returning to campus.READ MORE: California's Mask Mandate May Also End On June 15
“I’m fully vaccinated, but USC also encourages us to get COVID tested, because the vaccines are not 100%,” he said.
Organizers at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Pasadena testing site said they have seen a steady stream of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people coming through for a variety of reasons.
“Very diverse,” RaeAnne Bowlin, a testing site worker, said. “We’re getting students, we’re getting young children who are going back to school, we’re getting workers.”
Dr. Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease specialist with Keck Medicine of USC said testing was still important because herd immunity has not yet been reached, variants have been detected in L.A. County and a small percentage of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still develop the illness.
“It’s a very rare event,” he said. “It could still happen, obviously, but it’s obviously much less likely than if you’re not vaccinated.”
Local health officials say they are working with the state to find out exactly how many of these so-called breakthrough cases among vaccinated people have happened in L.A. County.READ MORE: LA Begins Process To Make Al Fresco Outdoor Dining Program Permanent
But Dr. Thomas Yadegar, with Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, said vaccinated people should only get tested if they are concerned.
“We do still get calls with patients that have symptoms, people who have been exposed, but fortunately compared to a few months ago, it’s significantly decreased,” he said.
In L.A. County, the seven-day daily average number of tests has dropped from roughly 90,000 at the beginning of the year to about 66,000.
As for Ticheli, he said he would do whatever it takes to get back to normal.
“Many of my colleagues, for many of them, it’s been tough,” he said. “Performers especially, their livelihoods have been taken away, so it’s been very difficult, and I hope that we have turned that corner.”
According to L.A. County health officials, people who have been fully vaccinated — meaning two weeks out from their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks out from the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — should not be getting tested regularly, because it could lead to more false positives.MORE NEWS: Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck By Subway Train In Westlake District
The county has updated its testing requirements to focus on those who work in nursing homes, are returning from an international trip, are part of an outbreak investigation or if it’s required by a company.