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Home / News / Health / Where to find free COVID testing sites

Where to find free COVID testing sites

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Testing for COVID has become a common part of living in the midst of this pandemic. Going out, going to work, or just meeting friends and family now carry risks. Knowing what’s available is important for protecting yourself and others from further infection.

At the beginning of the pandemic, testing sites were very common and most importantly, free. In 2022, there are still plenty of free options available but there have been some changes that some may not be aware of. Certain sources of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing have changed as the pandemic has entered a less chaotic stage. 

At-home testing is a new option that gives ordinary people the ability to test immediately if there’s a suspected case of COVID. However, at-home testing is not always accurate and requires multiple tests to ensure a definitive result. It’s still a valuable tool in the pandemic but PCR testing is much more accurate in comparison.  They analyze the supplied sample for genetic material belonging to the virus, allowing for accurate detection of the virus in a patient.  

PCR testing is still mostly free

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services website still is a valuable source of information for the nearest PCR testing sites. At the height of the pandemic, you could either use the aforementioned website or find somewhere else to get a PCR test. Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens offered quick and free PCR testing for most customers.

These days, both pharmacies ask customers to have health insurance in order to avoid out-of-pocket costs. The necessity of the test and whether one has health insurance will decide if costs will be incurred. CVS charges about $139 without health insurance for a PCR test while Walgreens charges $128 if you don’t meet the criteria for a free test. 

For completely free testing, LA County still has plenty of sites that offer free PCR testing. On their website, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services still lists the available COVID testing sites in the area. Each listing makes sure to provide pertinent information for the various sites. As some citizens might feel uneasy standing in line to get tested, knowing if a site is a drive-up or walk-up location is important.

COVID is still not over

LA County voted not to implement indoor masking rules, noting a drop in cases as a reason to hold off on a new mandate. However, with the continued presence of the coronavirus, it is very likely that mask mandates aren’t off the table completely. Now more than ever, testing is key to keeping oneself safe from further illness. 

Even though testing has become a normal part of living in the pandemic, staying informed of any significant changes is vital to staying healthy. Whether they are changes to testing or the virus itself, knowledge is power. In these uncertain times, it’s important to be armed with every tool at one’s disposal.  

For a list of testing sites in Los Angeles County, visit their website at dhs.lacounty.gov/covid-19/testing/.

For more information about at-home testing, read our article here.

You can reach Eloin Barahona-Garcia at eloin@beaconmedianews.com. 

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