L.A. COVID-19 testing goes mobile in Black, Latino areas

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday dispatched five mobile coronavirus testing teams to predominantly Black and Latino communities in the East San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles, where infections nearly doubled in early December.

“Angelenos must remain vigilant in the face of this surge,” Garcetti said in a statement, pointing to an explosion of cases across L.A. County and beyond in recent weeks.

As of Monday, L.A. County was averaging nearly 10,700 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week and 58 new COVID-19 deaths a day — both at or near records.

Communities where the mobile units are headed have seen particularly dramatic spikes relative to their population, according to the mayor’s office, which said it relies on county data to spot trends.

It’s no coincidence; the areas are home to a large number of essential workers, who have not been able to stay home and avoid elevated risk, the office said.

For the week ending Dec. 4, the East Valley accounted for 26% of all new cases citywide, and South L.A. comprised 19%.

Van Nuys increased 74%, Pacoima surged 92% and the neighborhoods of Florence-Firestone, Vernon, Sun Valley and Canoga Park saw increases of more than 100% compared to the week before.

Rapidly increasing case rates in the East Valley led the mayor’s office to launch a testing site at San Fernando Park last month.

Each mobile site has the capacity to test around a thousand people a day, kicking up the city’s current capacity of 41,000 across its 10 permanent sites.

Though testing has increased in recent weeks, the city has not exceeded capacity. On Saturday, the city tested roughly 33,500 people, the mayor’s office said.

No appointment is necessary to access the mobile sites.

These are the locations and availability throughout the week:

East Valley:

South L.A.:

Additional neighborhoods: