The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, announced this Wednesday that all its residents will be able to undergo free coronavirus diagnostic tests even if they do not present symptoms, thus becoming the first major city in the country to offer such a measure.
Until now, only “essential” workers and citizens with symptoms could be tested for free at the 35 licensed locations in Los Angeles.
With the new rule, local authorities hope to have a better understanding of how many people are affected in the city and which areas have been most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of its announcement, residents of Los Angeles County can now register on a website run by the Mayor’s Office and make an appointment for the test. According to the regulations, people with symptoms will still have priority, whether it is shortness of breath, fever or cough, among others.
This Wednesday’s announcement coincides with the day with the most confirmed positive cases in Los Angeles since the start of the pandemic, with a total of 1,541. In total, 22,485 infections have been reported in Los Angeles County of California.
The county, where almost 10 million inhabitants reside, reported another 56 deaths related to the virus in the last 24 hours, and the number of deaths reached 1,056, while at the state level the number reached 1,877 deaths, according to official data.
In California, there have been about 603,000 tests of coronavirus, which puts the most populous state in the country at a rate of 15,400 tests per million inhabitants, below the US average, which is 18,500 per million.
The US surpassed the million positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which have caused 60,967 deaths, according to the independent count of John Hopkins University.