After delays, Long Beach gets 1,000 test kits for coronavirus

Long Beach will begin testing more people for coronavirus after receiving 1,000 test kits, officials said Friday.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in an interview said the city’s health department has received its first batch of test after not having any for weeks. The city did not receive test kits immediately because other jurisdictions with confirmed cases were prioritized, officials have said.

Long Beach had previously relied on test kits from Orange and Los Angeles counties while it waited for the kits to arrive from state and federal authorities. As of Friday afternoon, the city had tested about two dozen people, with four testing positive for coronavirus, eight testing negative and 12 pending results. The city is monitoring an additional 70 people.

Long Beach’s ability to test people has been hindered by nationwide problems with testing. The effort was initially hit by delays in getting the kits out to labs, leading experts to conclude that there are likely more cases of the virus than have been reported. 

Garcia said the city will undoubtedly find more cases.

“We would love to have more testing kits, but there is a huge need across the country right now,” he said.

The restrictions on testing have frustrated some residents who suspect they have the coronavirus, but officials have said they are prioritizing the sickest individuals for screening.

Los Angeles County is also prioritizing people most likely to spread the virus.

For a test to be administered, a healthcare provider must determine it’s clinically necessary.

Those who believe they are infected are urged to call a primary care provider instead of heading to a hospital unless they’re experiencing symptoms that rise to the level of an emergency, officials said.

Those without health insurance can call the city’s information line at 562-570-4636.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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