Dodger Stadium COVID-19 testing site reopens with changes to alleviate traffic congestion

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Monday, January 4, 2021
Dodger Stadium COVID testing site reopens with changes
The Dodger Stadium COVID-19 testing site, which is the largest in the U.S., reopened Monday after a weekend closure for restructuring to alleviate traffic in the area.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Dodger Stadium COVID-19 testing site, which is the largest in the U.S., reopened Monday after a weekend closure for restructuring to alleviate traffic in the area.

The site is now using two parking lots and has add six additional lanes, which is expected to allow 600 to 800 more vehicles into the parking lots and off neighboring streets.

The testing location has administered over 1 million COVID-19 tests since May, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti. Residents in the area have expressed concern about traffic caused by the site, so it was closed over the weekend to be restructured and for testing operations to be rerouted.

"My message to everybody is this is not only going to come for somebody that you love, this is possibly going to come for you," Garcetti said. "Everything we do is either life-saving or life-taking at this point."

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The mayor has previously said that a negative test result may offer a false sense of security, advising people to stay home regardless of the test result.

"Surpassing one million tests at Dodger Stadium is a sobering reminder of just how many families have been affected by this terrible pandemic, and we thank the city and all our partners on the frontlines that continue to provide lifesaving services to our community,'' Los Angeles Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten said.

Several weeks ago, same-day appointments were available at Dodger Stadium. But the demand for testing has grown recently as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Now, the next available appointment times at the testing site are Wednesday at the earliest.

Los Angeles County reported 12,488 new cases of COVID-19 and 91 additional deaths Sunday, but also a slight decrease in the number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals.

A total of 7,544 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, with 21% in intensive care, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. That's a decrease from the 7,627 patients reported on Saturday.

The county's totals for the entire pandemic are now 818,639 cases and 10,773 fatalities.

As new cases of COVID-19 continue to accelerate at their fastest pace since the start of the pandemic, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti once again stated the situation will get worse before it gets better.

In a recent interview, Garcetti revealed that someone is contracting the virus every six seconds in L.A. County.

"My message to everybody is, this is not only going to come after somebody that you love, this is going to possibly come for you. So everything we do is either life-saving or life-taking at this point," he said.

Garcetti added that January will be the "darkest month we will have" as hospitalizations continue to reach dangerous new levels.

On Friday, Hansen Dam opened a vaccine site at its testing facility, joining Lincoln Park Recreation Center, San Fernando Park and the Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles, Garcetti announced Wednesday.

The four sites were chosen in areas most affected by the pandemic.

In a statement Thursday, Garcetti highlighted the city's effort to bring testing and public health resources to vulnerable neighborhoods in Los Angeles, an initiative of which the Dodger Stadium site was a key part.

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"COVID-19 has laid bare deep inequities in health and economic security across our city and country, and here in Los Angeles, we have acted swiftly and strategically to deliver testing, care and relief to our most vulnerable households,'' he said.

"No one should ever be left to suffer or worry on account of their race, income or ZIP code -- and with the pandemic still raging and a vaccine around the corner, we will continue to follow the data, deliver aid where it's needed most and work around the clock to save lives.''

In December, city officials introduced a map that tracks the virus in each Los Angeles neighborhood. Data this week shows the test positivity rate in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods at 20% to 33%, higher than all other parts of L.A., according to Garcetti's office.

City News Service contributed to this report.