It’s the latest effort to improve Covid-19 testing among minority communities in South Los Angeles.

"We’ve been getting a lot of interest from community residents that want to get tested," said Mario Chavez, Director of Government Affairs and Community Outreach for St. John's Well Child and Family Center.

What You Need To Know

  • New COVID-19 testing center has  opened in South Los Angeles

  • Minority communities have had limited access to testing, despite being disproportionately impacted by virus

  • State Senator Holly Mitchell urges more people to take advantage of available testing

  • Testing is available every Friday through the end of the month

On Friday, the organization opened a new testing site for its free mobile clinic at 118th Street Elementary School. 

"African-American and Latino residents of Los Angeles were unable to get tested yet they have the highest rates of Covid infection and highest rate of Covid hospitalizations and the highest rate of Covid deaths," said Jim Mangia, CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center.

"The way I see it is if we don’t do it, who’s going to do it for our community," Chavez said.

He's been working to coordinate the free testing and spread the word throughout the community.

"A lot of the residents we see are residents who don’t live anywhere near a health center or residents that are undocumented," Chavez said.  

"When people walk by from the neighborhood, I try to engage and say 'Hey, we’re doing free Covid-19 testing,' and then some people will look at you and frown and say, 'Well, I don’t have documents,' and we say, 'That’s not a problem. We can see you.'"

The latest testing site is a partnership between the community clinic, State Senator Holly Mitchell, and LAUSD to encourage more people to get tested.

Senator Mitchell and LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner volunteered to get tested themselves. Patients are brought into this tent where they receive a nasal swab, 10 seconds in each nostril, but the newer tests don’t have to go as far up in your nose.   

"It’s a little uncomfortable but not painful," Beutner said.

"It tickles," said Senator Mitchell after taking the nasal swab test.

Patients typically gets the results within two to three days. If they test positive, the contact tracing begins, tracking down the last 10 people they were around.

"We call them and try to get them to come in and get tested because that’s the only way you stop the propagation by quarantine people that are positive," Chavez said.

And as California continues to re-open . . . 

"My concerns are how we prepare all of us for schools to reopen in the fall. My concerns are if we’re going to see another blip with all the protests going on and people being in large numbers in very close proximity," Senator Mitchell said.

For now, the clinic will continue to send a clear message.

"Keep washing you hands every chance you get. Keep wearing your mask. Keep practicing social distancing because until we have a vaccination, this is not going away," Chavez said.

The clinic will be at the 118th Elementary School from 8am-2:30 pm every Friday through June.

You can sign up for the free testing