Update From the Frontlines of COVID-19: Contact Tracing, Mass Testing, Walk-Up Clinics to Contain Spread of Virus


As stark racial disparities around COVID-19 continue coming to light while deaths grow across the country, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center announced new efforts to contain and treat the virus. 

St. John’s has started “contact tracing,” where anyone who tests positive is asked to provide the contact information for the 10 people they’ve been in closest recent physical contact with, in order for providers to call and ask them to come in for testing. 

St. John’s recently opened 15 stationary COVID-19 testing sites throughout South Los Angeles. Additionally, they opened two mobile testing clinics. One is being used to test 300 persons experiencing homelessness a week, in partnership with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. A second mobile clinic is doing community-wide testing, in partnership with City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the Los Angeles Black Workers Center, Compton Unified School District, LA County Federation of Labor, Park Mesa Heights Community Council, Amazon Worker Alliance Los Angeles, and more. 

Overall, St. John’s is aiming to:

  • Increase access to COVID-19 testing, 
  • Reduce racial health and testing disparities; and 
  • Work to provide the same access offered to upper income and white communities across Southern California.

As of the end of last week, St. John’s was seeing a 15 percent positive rate in their testing tents. Last week, of the 1,893 people tested, 283 have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Altogether, St. John’s has been testing 1,500-2,000 people per week, which will increase to 4,000-5,000 tests per week as they ramp up this week.