Signature required for covid testing in Los Angeles County?
March 30, 2020 9:52 PM   Subscribe

I need to take a relative to a drive through appointment for covid testing tomorrow in L.A. County. My relative is highly anxious and has severe arthritis. Can you help me reassure them that either they will not need to sign anything or that the people administering the test will let me sign for them? Writing is extremely difficult for this person and they are afraid that they will be denied a test based on their inability to sign on their own.

Have you--you yourself or someone who gave you first-hand information--been tested very recently at one of the drive-through covid testing sites in Los Angeles? Is there paperwork to fill out? For the purposes of this question, I am not looking for:

-Anecdotes from other locations
-Suggestions for making my relative less anxious in general; that is not going to happen by tomorrow.
-Suggestions that my relative is being unreasonable. The situation is what it is.
-Anything other than personal experience. Suggestions for websites are not helpful at this point, I'm afraid. There's a public servant out there with this information but we've got a good 12 hours before the city is open for business.

I understand that this may seem like an unreasonable thing to be worried about, but the signature thing is now the proxy for this person's anxiety over possibly having a life-threatening illness. Can anyone tell me exactly what the process is for testing? I imagine you drive up, give your name and ID...and is that it, other than the swab?

They have a reservation number and time slot. Their address and phone number were filled out online. They're just worried that there will be additional paperwork that they won't be able to complete by hand. I will be there but they are afraid that anything less than their own personal signature won't be accepted. I'm hoping that if I can tell them exactly what the steps are it will help ease their fear. I cannot imagine that if they have to sign, the workers are going to be very picky about legibility or having me sign on their behalf. (We can't be the only people with this problem!) I just want to make this person feel better. This is a level of health bureaucracy that neither of us has really dealt with before.

posted by corey flood to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Best answer: I wouldn't have gone against your "anything but personal experience" requirement except for the fact that I found something relevant directly on LA County's website and I'm not sure what other replies you'll get between now and then (Ask Mefi can get slow overnight, given time-zone differences):

If you're talking about L.A. County's Public Health Laboratory (PHL), this looks to be the form that will accompany their sample, and I see nowhere on it that requires a signature, nor do their instructions to sample-takers mention getting a signature.

As I said, I'm a Chicagoan so cannot confess either personal experience or having someone relate it to me.

If not that, if you know who's running the drive-through lab, I can do similar digging.
posted by WCityMike at 10:04 PM on March 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I do not personally know how the COVID tents function, but I am a physician in CA and cannot imagine at ALL that this person will be turned away if they are unable to sign something (and also not sure what it is they may be signing?). The fact is, there are people unable to sign health documents all the time for myriad reasons, and accommodations are made a million times a day (and regulations/rules in place). Some patients just draw a line where their name is. (My own signature is literally just a bunch of whirls!) This is nothing new for the healthcare world and not a reason to deny care.

It's so great you can accompany your relative, btw.
posted by namemeansgazelle at 10:04 PM on March 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The drive-through tests seek to minimize contact-- windows up until absolutely necessary, etc. It would be totally counterproductive to give PENS to potentially infected patients to handle. There are many videos on Youtube from news channels or others documenting the experience of the drive-through tests. Will it help to show them these videos? (Please review these before showing, if you do, in case there's any anxiety-causing stuff. But there are plenty of similar ones out there.)

Here is a video from Ventura County showing the medical worker holding and scribbling on a clipboard. Another from Ventura.

Very short video from LA showing worker holding a clipboard.

NY video showing more clipboards and more of the full process.
posted by acidic at 11:25 PM on March 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! This was very helpful info and my relative was reassured before we went. And you were all correct—there was no paperwork to fill out and the firefighters running the test site were so helpful and kind that I’m sure they would have rolled with whatever we needed to do for a signature, had one been necessary.
posted by corey flood at 8:54 PM on March 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

So good to hear that everything went smoothly. Anxiety can fill our heads with a lot of fearsome scenarios. It's awesome that AskMe and kind firefighters deprived those fears of their teeth and claws.
posted by virago at 7:06 AM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

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