COVID-19 testing site opens in Santa Monica with capacity to test nearly 2,000 people per day

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- A new COVID-19 testing site in Santa Monica with initial capacity to test up to 1,920 people daily opened Saturday morning as Los Angeles County contends with a record-high number of COVID-19 cases.

The drive-thru site is located in the parking lot of the former Sears building at 302 Colorado Ave., near Fourth Street, and will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"In response to the overwhelming demand for testing, 911 COVID Testing is bolstering its capacity and launching a new mega-site in Santa Monica. We ultimately aim to accommodate the extremely high demand for testing brought forth by Omicron,'' said Steve Farzam, Chief Operating Officer of 911 COVID Testing, which is operating the site.

People can get a free PCR test, with 24-48 hour turnaround time, or pay $95 for a rapid 15-minute antigen test or $155 for a priority 12-hour PCR test. Farzam added that most insurance companies reimburse customers for rapid antigen tests.

Los Angeles County reported a staggering 43,712 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, by far the highest single-day number from throughout the entire pandemic, while hospitalizations also continued climbing, although still well short of the peak set during last winter's surge in infections.

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The daily number of new cases broke a record set by the county just the day before when 37,215 cases were reported.

"The urgency of the situation led us to open a brand-new testing facility to provide critical testing services to residents throughout West LA, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Malibu and nearby beachside communities. We're also working tirelessly to accommodate the testing needs of our emergency responders as to minimally disrupt their response to communities impacted by the Omicron surge. Ultimately, our goal is to be solution-driven during this precarious pandemic surge,'' Farzam said.

The new Santa Monica site will also test people for "flurona,'' a combination of COVID-19 and the flu, which was detected in a teen by a 911 COVID Testing site near the Getty Center in Brentwood.

People can make an appointment to get tested at the new site, or any of 911 COVID Testing sites at 911CovidTesting.com.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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