West Hollywood residents, some of whom have protested that they don’t have access to testing for possible infection with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), now can apply for testing online.
West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath announced that on Thursday night during a video “town hall” discussion of the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information about testing can be found on the City of West Hollywood’s website. Los Angeles County residents who are in high-risk categories are eligible for testing if they currently have COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, trouble breathing, flu-like symptoms, and persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
Those with symptoms who are identified as “high risk” are 65-years old or older; and/or have underlying health conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Chronic lung disease
- Moderate to severe asthma; or
- A compromised immune system, which can be as a result of cancer treatment
Residents also are eligible for testing if they are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period because they have been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have more than seven days of the two-week quarantine period remaining. Those interesting in obtaining a test can check their eligibility and register by clicking here.
During the town hall meeting, which was hosted by the Israeli-American Civil Action Network and Congregation Kol Ami and included IACAN’s Dillon Hosier and Kol Ami’s Rabbi Denise Eger, Horvath took dozens of questions from West Hollywood residents. One was whether people should wear face masks, which Horvath acknowledged “has been a very hot topic in our community.”
Health care experts have recommended that medical masks, particular those known as N95 masks, be reserved for health care workers who are in close contact with those confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19. However, as Horvath noted, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now is expected to recommend that people wear cloth masks when they are out in public.
Horvath said there is no guarantee that a face mask will protect someone from becoming infected by COVID-19, which can be transmitted through the air by coughing or sneezing, and that the best practice is for people to remain isolated at home. She said she has been in contact with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which is soliciting donations online of face masks, gloves, gowns and shoe covers and other protective gear as well as financial donations.
In response to another question, Horvath said it is hard to say at this point whether the City of West Hollywood will be able to go forward with hosting the annual LA Pride festival and parade and the Halloween Carnaval. LA Pride, which was scheduled for June, has been postponed. Horvath acknowledged that both are “signature events for our community” and significant generators of revenue. However, she said, “It might be that spending that money in other places might be what we need to do this year.”
Horvath also called out assistance being offered by the La Peer Hotel, which is making rooms available for healthcare workers and the families of hospital patients. And she noted that Planned Parenthood’s West Hollywood center is offering assistance to women who live in states that have enacted tough restrictions on abortion. The questions covered a number of other topics, some of which will be on the agenda of the City Council’s meeting on Monday. It begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed on WeHo TV online or WeHo TV on YouTube
Some of the issues raised are outside the purview of the City of West Hollywood. Horvath explained in her comments that West Hollywood is a “general law” city, which doesn’t have its own health department and can’t always implement measures enacted by charter cities such as Los Angeles.