COVID-19 testing in East Los Angeles
Registered nurse Glenda Perez waits to test people for coronavirus. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a request that the federal government ensure any person released from immigration custody is tested for COVID-19, followed by treatment if needed.

Meeting virtually, the Board of Supervisors took action after receiving an update on county efforts to combat the pandemic. Supervisor Jim Desmond suggested the county send a formal letter to its federal partners, including the Biden administration and immigration agencies.

Because some migrants may enter the United States through an unofficial process, Desmond said he was concerned that federal agencies may not be testing them for the coronavirus.

“We’ve worked very hard to get into orange tier,” Desmond said, referring to the state classification method for counties, based on the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases and the percentage of positive cases out of the total number of tests administered.

Previously, the county had been in the most restrictive purple tier, but its overall numbers have dropped as more residents get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We need less than two people per 100,000 testing positive,” Desmond said, adding that if migrants come in without proper testing, that puts the county’s population at risk.

Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher said he was happy to support Desmond’s proposal.

“Obviously, we want (the federal government) to do their job,” Fletcher added. “If there are gaps, then the county has to step in.”

— City News Service contributed to this article

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