The South Bay’s first public drive-up coronavirus testing site was a busy place Friday, April 3.

Cars began lining up a half-hour ahead of the center’s 9 a.m. opening at the South Bay Galleria, in Redondo Beach. By mid-day, though there was no longer a wait, roughly 125 people had been tested. The testing center’s first day ran smoothly from then on in the Galleria’s parking lot, according to Cristan Higa, chief marketing and communications officer with Beach Cities Health District.

The health district, L.A. County Fire Department and Redondo Beach are among the agencies helping operate the South Bay site as the Los Angeles County Department of Health scrambles to get coronavirus test centers up quickly. Providence Little Company of Mary is also helping out.

The free COVID-19 testing remains limited to L.A. County residents who most need it, and who have been pre-scheduled through a city or county web portal. (Walk-up appointments are not available.) Folks who are eligible to be tested include:

  • Those with symptoms who are 65 years of age or older;
  • Those with symptoms who have underlying chronic health conditions; and
  • Those who are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period because of a confirmed COVID-19 exposure (with more than seven days of quarantine remaining).

You can schedule a test — if you meet the criteria — by going to

Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand was among those who were tested at the South Bay Galleria Friday, after his wife signed him up the day before. Brand is battling lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy; he had a CT scan last week that showed pneumonia or inflammation in his lungs. Those reasons made him eligible for the test. He’ll learn results within 48 hours, he said.

“There is nothing more important for our area right now than flattening the infection curve of the COVID-19 outbreak,” Brand said via text message Friday. “We are still uncertain where we are on the curve, so this type of drive-up testing will help us track our progress.”

Brand said he looked forward to receiving negative results, “but nothing is keeping me down anyway.”

The mayor encouraged residents to stay home and practice social distancing; he also cautioned that a spike in positive COVID-19 cases could be imminent now that more test centers are up and running.

L.A. County opened two additional centers Friday, one at The Pomona Fairplex and one at The Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale.

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