April 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

FDA-Authorized Coronavirus Testing at Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel

Drive-thru and walk-up testing seven-days a week  

The award-winning Shore Hotel, located steps away from the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, has provided part of its outdoor space for a COVID-19 drive-thru and walk-up testing site open 7 days a week from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. with no appointments necessary. After hours services and mobile response is also available by appointment.

With studies showing that an average of 1 in 3 Los Angeles residents are contracting COVID-19, testing sites are overwhelmed. Steve Farzam, Chief Operating Officer of the Shore Hotel, saw a need for a quick and efficient testing facility for hotel employees and their loved ones that was affordable or at no cost. 

Farzam, a former paramedic and EMT who volunteered with Hurricane Katrina relief, wanted a way to get hotel employees and their families tested without having to go to a testing facility where they would have to wait in line for 3-4 hours with people who could potentially be carrying the virus.

Sharing a mutual vision with Dr. Jason Rhee, a licensed physician in California, Farzam devoted resources to Rhee who mobilized an authorized testing site known as 911 COVID Testing. Rhee’s core principle is “for all of us medical professionals to always be a patient advocate while simultaneously serving the greater good.”

Seeing the massive demand from community members and local businesses to have a local testing site, Rhee and his team decided to quickly expand testing to the community at large. 

With a “think positive and test negative” motto 911 COVID Testing has provided incredible medical professionals and have made wait times almost nonexistent. 

The testing site offers three types of testing. They encourage all persons who want to get tested to consult their own primary medical professional for guidance on which test suits them.

One is an antibody test that requires one drop of blood from a finger prick. This test looks at two proteins, the IGM and IGG proteins. Those two proteins help to show if the individual has been exposed to the virus. Those markers can appear as early as 72 hours after initial exposure with a peak around the 10th day. The second protein can plateau around the 70th day. This is helpful if people wanted to know if they had it earlier in the year. This test isn’t recommended for current exposure. 

The second is a Rapid Antigen Test made by a local Santa Monica company called Access Bio. Access Bio is now one of only two companies in the world to receive FDA authorization for all available testing products on the market.  This U.S. made rapid test takes a nasal swab and within 3-10 minutes will show results. 

Farzam became concerned when he learned that his hotel employees were improperly being given only rapid tests at a local clinic when they were asymptomatic.  Currently, the antigen tests that have received EUAs from FDA are authorized for diagnostic testing in symptomatic persons. Unfortunately, people are getting a negative result because antigen levels in specimens collected either before symptom onset, or late in the course of infection, may be below the limit of detection of virus of the test.

The third test is a PCR test which, according to the CDC, is the “gold standard of all tests”. Requiring either an oral swab or the preferred nasal swab, the specimen gets sent to an CLIA-approved and authorized lab in Culver City which gives a 24-hour turn around with very accurate results directly to your cell phone and email. 

Farzam warns people that some other sites may not be using FDA authorized tests, since they are readily available on the internet. “They’re using knock-off tests that cost less and give results with no verified data behind them,” 

The site located at Shore Hotel offers two different ways to get tested either drive-up or walk-up. The drive-up facility can do 11 cars every 7 minutes,  averaging about 80 cars an hour. The walk-up testing has a maximum wait time of 10 minutes but the average wait time is around 5-8 minutes. 

A “mobile strike team” has also been assembled which consists of  well experienced allied health professionals. This team deploys to businesses west of the 405 that have people in need of testing. They set up a mobile site and do all of the testing in whatever space they have. 

The antibody test is $95 for the general public with a 50 percent off offer if the individual buys any other test. The rapid antigen test goes for $125, however, a $50 discount is available for first responders and essential workers (firefighters, police, emergency medical service staff) with proof of identification. PCR is test is available at no cost provided you have insurance or $199 for cash pay.

To find out more about the types of testing the Shore Hotel offers or to make an appointment to get tested visit: www.911CovidTesting.com or call 310-569-5784

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