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City, County of Los Angeles Do COVID Rapid-Test Pilot

The endeavor, which began the week of Oct. 19, centers on deployment of coronavirus rapid antigen tests among schoolchildren and first responders.

The governments of the city and county of Los Angeles have joined with the University of Southern California on a pilot project for rapid COVID-19 testing.

The pilot will focus on coronavirus rapid antigen tests among school-aged children as well as first responders, and this initial pilot study will be multi-pronged, with an aim of determining the best possible way to use inexpensive tests in the service of supporting new efforts to reopen public spaces.

In an announcement for the effort, stakeholders noted that “rapid tests have the potential to quickly alert people who are contagious and need to isolate, thereby stopping the chain of transmission.” Organizers also noted in the announcement that this collaborative effort makes Los Angeles one of the first major metro areas in the country to launch this type of pilot to learn about the feasibility of large-scale rapid tests, applied to people experiencing symptoms as well as people who are asymptomatic.

The first phase of this effort actually kicked off last week with firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department getting three separate types of COVID-19 tests at city testing sites. These tests include a self-administered rapid antigen test, a lab-based PCR test, and, last, an antibody test that can identify whether someone has previously been infected. In total, the project has a goal of enrolling as many as 1,000 first responders in order to gain insight as to how each of these types of tests performs so that the best can be given to essential workers on the front lines of the ongoing crisis.

A longer version of this article first appeared in Government Technology, Techwire’s sister publication.

Zack Quaintance is the assistant news editor for Government Technology magazine. His background includes writing for daily newspapers across the country and developing content for a software company in Austin, Texas.