LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases locally and across California, Angelenos have flocked to free testing sites in the city, including at Dodger Stadium.
Thousands of appointments with 30-minute windows are available daily at the Dodger Stadium testing site, which is supposed to help with long lines. But on Wednesday night, the scene at the stadium -- the county's largest testing site -- looked more like the mass exodus out of the park after Dodgers game with cars lined up around the parking lot.
Los Angeles expanded testing availability earlier this week, increasing the amount of tests and the hours at sites.
Dodger Stadium is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Results are generally available within 24 hours.
The city says 30,000 tests per day are now available at testing sites.
Mayor Eric Garcetti says residents cannot let their guard down during the holidays - and that they should not be traveling out of town to attend gatherings and should not be inviting people into their homes.
"This is one of the most precarious and dangerous and fragile moments in our fight against COVID-19,'' Garcetti said. "Just yesterday, the most Americans to ever get COVID-19 got it.''
Garcetti said the county's contact tracing shows more than 10% of people who have tested positive within the past week had been in a gathering of more than 10 people.
"The current dangerous spike in infections is being driven in part by gatherings, often between people who aren't showing symptoms," Garcetti said.
Rapid testing could be coming to Los Angeles soon, Garcetti said, and progress with studies continues at the University of Southern California.
"In a few weeks we'll know some of the initial results working with USC,'' Garcetti said. "There's a couple factors at play. One is how many tests we can get, and the state of California is getting millions of those tests, so we're working with them to try to see if we can distribute those in coming months.''
California is close to hitting the unfortunate milestone of 1 million coronavirus cases as the warnings become more dire.
As of Wednesday, the state was about 7,000 cases short of hitting that 1 million mark, one that was recently reached by the state of Texas.
Los Angeles County has now seen more than 7,200 deaths from the virus, with over 2,300 new infections and 25 deaths announced Tuesday.
The state expects over half of California's counties will be moved into a more restrictive tier if current trends continue.
Garcetti said the Pfizer announcement that its vaccine against COVID-19 may be 90% effective is extraordinary,'' but he said more research is needed.
Also as a coronavirus vaccine moves closer to approval and then distribution, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is recommending the Department of Public Health work with school districts to see if it's feasible to use schools as mass vaccination sites.
City News Service contributed to this report.