LANCASTER — Testing for COVID-19 is increasing in the Antelope Valley, as Los Angeles County is engaging partners in the effort to build its capacity.
Starting today, appointment-only testing will be available at High Desert Medical Group’s main clinic in Lancaster.
Testing is available for eligible patients and appointments are arranged only through responding to an online questionnaire — the form may be found at https://corona-virus.la/
Even though the website is directed to a city of Los Angeles website, testing is being expanded into Los Angeles County sites, including the communities of the Antelope Valley, county officials said.
“We are exploring every avenue and tapping all resources to adequately meet the needs of each of Los Angeles County’s residents,” Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.
The program is a collaboration among the county, city of Lancaster and High Desert Medical Group.
“We are glad to be in partnership with Supervisor Barger and with our community partner, High Desert Medical Group, to be able to get a COVID-19 test location into operation,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said Tuesday. “We have moved heaven and earth to advance this process for our people.”
Testing will be done at a tent site at the HDMG Main Clinic at 43839 15th St. West, about two blocks north of Avenue K.
Tests will be administered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday for people with an approved appointment, according to HDMG Administrator Rafael Gonzalez.
Those eligible for testing at this time, include those with symptoms who are age 65 and older or have underlying health conditions, and those who are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period due to COVID-19 exposure (with more than seven days of quarantine remaining).
The testing is available for residents of Lancaster, Palmdale and the surrounding communities and they need not be High Desert Medical Group members or patients.
“Our staff will be on hand to help testing with anyone who is assessed and determined to be in need of a COVID-19 test,” Gonzalez said.
An electronic bulletin board sign and traffic cones provided by the city will guide people with appointments into the test screening site.
Gonzalez said that High Desert Medical Group has been screening and testing its own patients since March 15. Initiation of the parking lot site is an expansion into wider community availability.
A second local testing site is underway at the Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, in partnership with Palmdale Regional Medical Center and Antelope Valley Hospital. Officials hope to have it operating on Thursday.
A number of such testing sites are being created to increase the availability of testing and therefore, the number of people being tested countywide.
“I know that the limited access to testing has been a source of frustration for our community as a whole,” Dr. Clayton Kazan, Los Angeles County Fire Department medical director, said.
He has been tasked with coordinating the county’s testing programs.
The ultimate goal is to be able to test 10,000 people per day; the current rate is about 1,500 per day, he said.
The average center, running efficiently, can administer about 250 tests per day. Getting enough of these up and running across the county will be necessary to reach the desired number.
In addition to the community testing sites being set up, a process to allow first responder agencies to test their own personnel has been developed and is already in use by the Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff’s departments, and officials believe it can be scaled for other agencies, Kazan said.