İrem UZUN -TDO- Los Angeles has become the first major U.S. city to offer free coronavirus testing to all residents regardless of whether they have symptoms, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced. Garcetti said at his daily coronavirus briefing that officials hope the widescale testing will help stem the spread of the deadly infection by identifying asymptomatic carriers while also gaining a better understanding of its impacts on the community.  'As long as this disease spreads, we have to continue to scale, and as long as this disease takes lives, we must test,' the mayor said.

The Los Angeles County Health Department confirmed another 1,541 cases — its largest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic. It also reported 56 additional deaths due to the coronavirus. Health officials say despite the uptick, the rate of hospitalization and death in the county has remained steady. Los Angeles County now has a total of nearly 22,500 confirmed cases — accounting for nearly half of California’s more than 46,000.

Until now, due to a scarcity of test kits, only people showing symptoms of COVID-19, essential workers and those in institutional settings, such as nursing homes, could receive a test in Los Angeles. Now, any LA city or county resident who wants a test can make an appointment and get one at one of dozens of testing sites in the area, the mayor said at a news conference on Wednesday. But he added that people showing symptoms would still be given priority for testing.

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