Dan Smith

COVID-19 Test Site at BCHD Campus Surpasses 100,000 Tests

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Recent surge in COVID-19 cases has made December site’s busiest month to date

Valerie Lee BCHD test site

Valerie Lee of Beach Cities Health District stands ready to assist people coming for COVID-19 tests at the BCHD campus in Redondo Beach (photo courtesy of BCHD).

By Dan Smith, BCHD

The Los Angeles County COVID-19 drive-thru test site at the Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) campus will administer its 100,000th test today, the site’s 259th day of operation.

The Redondo Beach site was set up in April at the South Bay Galleria, before relocating to BCHD in early June when the Galleria re-opened for shoppers. A team comprised of Los Angeles County Fire and Lifeguard personnel, Redondo Beach Police, Providence Little Company of Mary nurses and BCHD staff worked together to provide testing for more than 17,000 L.A. County residents at the Galleria location from April 3 to June 5, a total of 64 days.

BCHD took over operations when the site moved to the Prospect Avenue campus June 8. Employees from BCHD’s AdventurePlex and Center for Health & Fitness, facilities that are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, make up the bulk of the test site team with assistance from BCHD administrative staff and volunteers.

“From the outset of this pandemic, one of our primary goals has been to ensure that COVID-19 testing was easily accessible to Beach Cities residents, and we thank L.A. County, the City of Redondo Beach and Providence Little Company of Mary for being great partners in achieving that goal,” said BCHD CEO Tom Bakaly. “We recognize the importance of COVID-19 tests and I am very proud of the way our employees and volunteers have stepped up during this time to serve our community.”

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has made the BCHD test site busier than ever, averaging more than 700 tests per day this week. For comparison, the site did not have a 600-test day until mid-November and surpassed 700 tests in a day for the first time December 8.

The tests used at the BCHD site are nasal PCR swabs, which residents self-administer in the comfort of their own vehicle. The samples are sent to Fulgent Laboratories, which provides results within 1-3 days. People with positive test results are contacted by contact tracers provided by the Health District.

“PCR testing remains one of the foundations of our fight against the pandemic, along with social distancing, face coverings and lots of hand washing,” said William Kim, M.D., Chief Medical Advisor for BCHD. “Of the tests available to establish if someone has been infected, the PCR platform being used at BCHD is one of the gold standard tests available. It’s important to get a test with high specificity and sensitivity, that is, few false positives and false negatives. This is the platform we are proud to be offering our community.”

L.A. County residents can schedule a free COVID-19 test appointment by visiting the County website at covid19.lacounty.gov/testing. Appointments fill up quickly, so residents are encouraged to continue to check the site for availability at the Redondo Beach location or make an appointment at another LA County site.

The BCHD testing location is expected to operate until at least Spring of 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, BCHD has provided a number of services to Beach Cities residents including  meal deliveries and errand running for older adults and adults with disabilities; raising funds to help income-qualified residents with household items and needs; providing information via their Assistance, Information & Referral line (310-374-3426, ext. 256); providing updated information at www.bchd.org/covidupdates  on the virus and related Health Officer Orders from the L.A. County Department of Public Health; coordinating with area Chambers of Commerce on the “Safe in the South Bay” program; and offering free virtual fitness and mindfulness classes online. For more information, visit www.bchd.org.

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