Public warned of using unlicensed COVID-19 testing sites as cases sharply rise in LA County

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- COVID-19 cases are rising across Southern California, and in Los Angeles County, more than 4,000 new cases were added Wednesday.

This comes as Governor Gavin Newsom rolled up his sleeves for a second booster shot.

"Just two months ago, we had a positivity rate of less than 3%. And unfortunately, It seems like the fourth wave may be knocking at our doorstep once again," said Steve Farzam, CEO of 911-COVID Testing. "As of midnight last night, our positivity rate is just hovering under 15%."

That's a 500% increase in two months.

And as demand for testing goes up, Farzam warns the public to make sure they're going to a licensed testing site.

"We can't tell you how many people come to us who have literally fell victim to getting tested at one of these booths, that never receive their results," Farzam said. "And that's difficult. That's difficult for us."

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Hospitalizations across the state are ticking back up again as well, but as of now, it's something Gov. Newsom says is not concerning. He stopped by a clinic in Bakersfield to receive his second booster.

"They work. They're effective. They save lives," Newsom said. "They mitigate the impacts of this virus."

Those fourth doses are available right now to anyone over 50 years of age, and it sounds like they may soon be available for almost everyone else.

"With regard to a fourth dose for those under the age of 50, that is going to require action from the FDA, and we're in conversations there as well," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Walensky recommends that even if people are not in an area of high transmission, to wear a mask indoors if in a high-risk setting like a group or gathering.

L.A. County is about to rise into the medium level of transmission. If it goes even higher, to the high level, that's when indoor masking would come back.

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