Community Teams to Make Galleria a County COVID-19 Drive-Thru Test Facility

Jasmine Morales (seated) and Cindy Foster of BCHD staff L.A. County's COVID-19 test site at the South Bay Galleria (photo courtesy of BCHD).

Jasmine Morales (seated) and Cindy Foster of BCHD staff L.A. County’s COVID-19 test site at the South Bay Galleria (photo courtesy of BCHD).

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has been busy opening more than 30 COVID-19 testing sites throughout the county, including the first site in the South Bay at the Galleria in Redondo Beach. The Galleria location has administered more than 4,200 tests since it opened April 3.

The drive-up testing site is available to L.A. County residents via scheduled appointments and this week is increasing capacity to 500 appointments per day. The test site is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Galleria test location is being staffed by L.A. County Fire Department (including lifeguards), Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, and Beach Cities Health District (BCHD).

At the onset of the outbreak, BCHD began working with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the City of Redondo Beach and Galleria management to establish a test site in the Beach Cities.

“This is a great community collaboration with L.A. County Fire, Providence Little Company of Mary, Redondo Beach, the Galleria and BCHD,” said Tom Bakaly, CEO of BCHD. “Our top objective in dealing with COVID-19 was to work with the Department of Public Health to establish a test facility in the Beach Cities. We’re working together with these partners to get as many South Bay residents tested as possible.”

The site is also providing tests for first responders, including police, fire and medical personnel who may have interacted with people thought to be infected with COVID-19.

The tests consist of a self-administered mouth swab and can be done from the vehicle. Jackie Berling, BCHD’s on-site incident commander, estimates that on average, people are getting through the test process at the Galleria in about 15-20 minutes, start to finish. She also noted that with the increase in appointments at the Galleria, there are available time slots for people to be tested.

As testing has increased throughout L.A. County over the last two weeks, eligibility has expanded to include all county residents who are symptomatic for COVID-19. These symptoms include, fever, cough and shortness of breath. The following residents are prioritized for tests:

  • First responders
  • Critical government personnel
  • Health care professionals
  • Grocery workers

The County test website instructs those eligible for priority testing to ask their department head, affiliated hospital or medical center, or employer for information about how to schedule a priority test.

All tests are by appointment only. To confirm eligibility and search testing appointment availability, go to http://coronavirus.lacity.org/testing.

A note on that website instructs visitors “If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as extreme shortness of breath, contact your physician. If it is an emergency, dial 911.”

Test results may take up to seven days to get back. Results will be delivered by email, and those with positive results will also be contacted by staff from Providence Healthcare.

The COVID-19 tests provided at sites operated by the L.A. County Department of Public Health are free of charge. Berling expects the Galleria test site will operate as long as the County’s Safer at Home Health Order is in effect. That order is currently in place until May 15.

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