City mandates that healthcare facilities provide COVID-19 tests to their patients

In a new health order, Long Beach health officials are now mandating that healthcare facilities, like doctor’s offices and clinics, provide COVID-19 tests to their patients who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to a positive case.

The order goes into effect July 31 and is partly an effort to ensure doctors aren’t just telling their patients to use the city testing sites when they could be getting tested there, health director Kelly Colopy said Thursday.

“Right now we hear from folks who make appointments with the city is that they went to their provider and their providers said, ‘Just go through the drive-thru,'” Colopy said.

Violation or failure to comply to the health order is a misdemeanor and could result in a $1,000 fine or jail time of up to six months.

While it might take some time for the providers to be able to acquire test materials and contracts with laboratories, officials hope it will streamline getting information to one’s provider as well as getting results of the test into their medical records, she said. When the city tests someone for COVID-19, the results go to the individual only and are not sent to their doctor.

Officials said the expansion is necessary in order to help identify people who are infected, isolate them and get them the right care. The city also now has the ability to test more than 1,400 people per day, up from 1,000. If a person does not have a doctor or insurance, free testing is available to residents of Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood, Paramount and Compton.

The health department reported no new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday. They also reported that 162 more people have tested positive, bringing the city’s total to 7,225 cases of COVID-19. In addition, 106 Long Beach residents are reported to be hospitalized.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.