By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Public health officials will provide free COVID-19 test kits at more than a dozen pick-up sites after a program to mail the kits got bogged down by heavy demand.

The new pick-up testing program was announced Monday as skyrocketing demand for at-home tests continues. More testing sites have been opened across the region — including two large sites that opened Monday in the City of Industry and Long Beach – just as new infections have hit record highs across Southern California.

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The testing kits come as thousands of LA Unified School District students and staff are expected to head back to classes Tuesday. Students must first have a negative test for COVID-19.

New Castle Elementary school in Reseda is one of the district’s testing sites where there’s a last-minute rush.

“The holidays especially had cases go up tremendously,” said Alisa Azcunaga. “So I just think it’s a really good precaution.”
Azcunaga drove up with her 5-year-old sister and is glad the district is requiring testing. According to LAUSD, they have had about a 15% positivity rate in the last week.
“We’ve caught 50,000 positive cases of COVID using these baseline tests,” said Kelly Gonez, an LAUSD Board Member. “Which means our schools and classrooms will be significantly safer come Tuesday.”

(credit: LACounty.gov)

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Under the new program, COVID test kits can be picked up at 13 testing sites across Los Angeles County. The kits include PCR tests capable of detecting both COVID and Influenza A & B, and are available without an appointment until supplies last. Once residents perform the test, they can return the completed kit to a designated location for processing, and be notified of their results within 24 to 48 hours.

“Once all 13 Pick-Up Testing locations are fully operating and once our Home Testing Kit by mail program is simultaneously relaunched later this week, we will have successfully added over 10,000 additional daily Covid tests available to the residents of LA County,” Paula Siler, the county health department’s director of community mobile testing operations, said in a statement.

The pick-up testing kits are available to all Los Angeles County residents experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with COVID. County officials say they are not intended to be used as a requirement to return to school, work, or participation in another activity where routine testing is required. Test results required by work or school should be provided by an employer, school district, or other entity requiring the testing, according to county officials.

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For details on where to pick up a COVID test kit, visit lacounty.gov.