On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti temporarily went against new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and announced during a press conference that everyone who wants a COVID-19 test should get one.
Mayor Garcetti promotes more testing despite CDC’s new testing guidelines
Earlier this week, the CDC had announced new testing guidelines which included a recommendation that people who are not showing symptoms do not need a test, even if someone close to them had COVID-19. While CDC officials announced the retraction some of that advice on Thursday, it still has not been officially changed and is still listed on the CDC’s website, indicating that the new advice might still stay in place.
During the press conference, Mayor Garcetti specifically pointed out the new part of the recommendations, expressing that those who don’t show COVID-19 symptoms should still get tested.
“I very strongly disagree with what the CDC put out saying that there should not be testing of people without symptoms,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This is a devastating virus. Never forget that. If it doesn’t kill you, it can leave you with long-term damage. Often it’s those silent spreaders that have done the most damage. We will not stop providing tests for those who don’t have symptoms.”
The Mayor’s reiteration of widespread testing came on the same day that Los Angeles County public health officials announced that COVID-19 cases had been dropping across the county, reaching the less than 200 cases per 100,000 residents milestone during the week. LA County Health officials have yet to follow in Mayor Garcetti’s footsteps and also ignore new CDC guidance, only going as far as saying that the new goal for the county is to get under 100 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks to get off the state COVID-19 watchlist.
“The LA Mayor doesn’t want yet another spike and to be kept on the state watchlist for even longer,” explained William Bell, a former health advisor for several Californian cities, to the Globe. “If he goes with the new testing guidelines, some people may be missed and it could spread to other people, perhaps delaying LA from reopening even further. Plus, health workers across the city have been so stressed and tired with the huge bump in cases, and LA wants further relief from that.”
“The CDC testing guidelines may work for more rural areas, but in a city where a lot more people may not show symptoms, you need to give it to the Mayor on this one and still ask for people to get tested. They want off that watchlist and they don’t want more deaths.”
COVID-19 rates, hospitalizations fall in LA County
Earlier this week, Mayor Garcetti had announced that COVID-19 hospitalizations had reached the lowest point in the county since April 4th, noting large improvements in health care for those with the virus.
“Today 1,168 Angelenos, still a very large number, are in the hospital,” said the Mayor. “But it is 1,000 fewer patients compared to five weeks ago. We’re headed in the right direction.”
Mayor Garcetti also announced that the overall infection rate, .92, is below one, meaning the virus is no longer rapidly spreading and that fewer cases per week should soon be reported.
“To put that in perspective, we still need to cut that to about half the number of cases we have today, and sustain that for two weeks to achieve the goal that I know we all share,” added the Mayor. “The data shows that what we’re doing is working, what you’re doing is having an effect, but we’re not out of the woods. COVID-19 is still here and is extremely dangerous, so we need to keep following those protocols.”
As of Thursday, Los Angeles County remains one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 counties in the state, but with many officials hoping to be taken off the state watchlist sometime next month.