The City of Los Angeles has decided to reduce the frequency of Covid testing for thousands of unvaccinated public workers, including police and firefighters, from twice a week to once a week, according to memos obtained by NBC4 I-Team.
Additionally, the city is considering revamping the testing program entirely due to the difficulty in obtaining timely results that can be used to protect colleagues and the public from infection, several senior officials told I-Team. familiar with discussions.
“There were major issues,” said a city official familiar with the testing program but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
The official said that over the past month some test kits were lost, some were packaged for shipment to a lab but were never sent or were sent late, and some other kits tests may have been intentionally sabotaged by employees.
Workers are given test vials and swabs to self-administer and are expected to deposit completed tests in a collection bin at their workplace.
Two days after NBC4 first learned about the reasons for the reduction in testing, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office said it was the result of the drop in the rate of Covid-19 cases. .
“This pandemic forces us to constantly re-evaluate our methods to ensure we are aligned with the latest expert guidance and data,” Garcetti spokesman Harrison Wollman emailed.
“The decision follows the recommendation we received from Cal OSHA and reflects the declining case positivity rate and the fact that 4,000 additional employees have been fully vaccinated since the testing program began,” it said. he declares.
Over 80% of the City’s workforce is fully immunized.
City employees had to be fully vaccinated or have submitted written requests for exemption by December 18, 2021.
The screening program for unvaccinated workers applies to those awaiting decisions on their applications for religious or medical exemptions.
Last week, the LAPD said it fired an officer for refusing to get vaccinated or seek an exemption, and said at least seven other employees faced dismissal for the same reasons.