Cedars-Sinai announced Tuesday that it has launched COVID-19 testing at its three urgent care clinics in Playa Vista, Culver City and Beverly Hills.

The test uses a nasopharyngeal swab to collect a sample from the patient, and results are available within 48 to 72 hours.

“We have expanded our testing options in an effort to support our patients and the community by giving them access to high-quality testing when they need it,” said Dr. Caroline Goldzweig, Cedars-Sinai Medical Network’s chief medical officer. “We wanted to expand access especially for frontline workers such as grocery store employees, first responders or any essential worker whose job puts them in close contact with others.”

A doctor’s referral is not needed, and people getting tested do not need to be a Cedars-Sinai patient prior to booking their testing appointment, according to Cedars-Sinai. The test costs $150 if a patient does not have insurance or does not have insurance accepted by Cedars-Sinai.

Cedars-Sinai officials noted that the best time to take the test is four to seven days after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an exposure as unmasked contact within six feet of a person known or suspected of having COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes over the course of a 24-hour period.

“When you’re asymptomatic, timing is everything,” Goldzweig said. “It’s also critical to remember that a negative test in an asymptomatic person does not guarantee that you do not have COVID-19. The incubation period can last 14 days and it’s possible you could develop symptoms or even test positive later during this time period.”

She noted that the PCR testing technology being used at the Cedars-Sinai urgent care clinics is generally the most reliable for detecting the presence of COVID-19, but that it is not perfect. Some patients who test negative may still have the illness, according to Cedars-Sinai.

Testing is available to adults and children ages 2 years and older. Minors under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

The clinics have a number of safety measures in place, including screening patients, visitors and staff upon arrival, requiring everyone to sanitize their hands and wear a mask, caring for patients with COVID-19 symptoms in separate areas, arranging spaces to allow for physical distancing, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all clinical spaces and common areas and limiting the number of visitors allowed, officials said.

More information about the testing is available at www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/urgent-care.html.

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