LOS ANGELES - California's Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said state officials are planning to expand COVID-19 testing in "disproportionately impacted communities."
"Brick and mortar testing and also mobile testing sites to reach disproportionately impacted communities to a deeper degree so we can make sure as our co-chairs identified that we can meet the equity challenge with testing that we face not just here in California but across the nation," said Ghaly.
Ghaly and other officials believe more testing can help stop the spread of the virus as people who test positive quarantine. However, some people are questioning the access to testing in black and brown communities as data shows Covid-19 heavily impacts African Americans and Latinos.
"It's not enough testing in this area and it's not enough concern for the people in Compton," said Josephine Christopher.
Christopher has lived in Compton since 2001 and believes more should be done to expand testing and make residents aware of testing sites.
"You see them [officials] on television addressing something, but nothing ever gets done. It affects all races, not just Black and Mexican. It concerns the whole community here that has been neglected for a while," Christopher said.
Peter Aviles, a Long Beach resident, said he tests regularly and has been able to find reliable testing site information.
"I feel if you really look into it, if you really want to get it done, you can look online and they'll give you many places you can get it for free. If you want to get it done, get it done, and then it doesn't hurt, it's not scary whatsoever. I'm just trying to make sure that I get it done so I don't get other people sick in case I contract the virus," said Aviles.
State officials are trying to expand testing to pharmacists, health care providers and nurse practitioners.
"Today our licensing boards will begin reaching out to doctors and pharmacists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. We will encourage them to partner with us in this effort to expand testing capacity by performing COVID-19 testing in their offices. By moving as much testing as possible to these providers or to local labs, we can increase access to testing and be able to identify the patients who meet the highest testing priority. That will help us focus on the highest risk Californians," said Lourdes M. Castro Ramirez, the Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.
Ghaly also said the state is working with health insurance providers to ensure people are reimbursed for the cost of the COVID-19 tests which is around $100 per test.
The state has conducted more than 5 million tests since the pandemic started. Ghaly said the goal was 60,000 to 80,000 tests per day, but the state is now doing 105,000 tests per day.
The Department of Public Health said there are 38 walk-up testing sites available across Los Angeles County for people who don't have access to a vehicle.