COVID Tests Launch at LAX for $150 a Piece

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

COVID Tests Launch at LAX for $150 a Piece

With less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, passengers worried about transmitting the coronavirus on their trip can get tested at Los Angeles International Airport with results back within 24 hours.

Beginning Tuesday, Clarity Lab Solutions will offer an FDA-approved nasal swab test for $150, LAX officials announced Monday as they braced for what is normally some of the busiest travel days. Though this year, airlines are seeing reservations at just a fraction of what's expected.

The pilot program also comes as county health officials report a recent spike in coronavirus cases and prepare for more as the holidays approach. Los Angeles remains in the most restrictive category of California's reopening blueprint.

On Friday, the California Department of Public health issued an advisory notice recommending that travelers arriving in California quarantine for 14 days and that residents of the state stay home and avoid non-essential travel.

This is the "first phase" of the airport's COVID testing plans. In early December, the airport — the nation's second busiest last year — will open an on-site rapid test lab to deliver quicker results.

Until that unit is unveiled, the New Jersey-based company will process test results at a downtown lab location, according to an LAX spokesperson.

The PCR tests are available on a walk-in basis at the check-in counters at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and the arrivals side of Terminals 2 and 6, home to airlines including Southwest, Delta and Virgin Atlantic. The pop-ups will stay open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.




The testing site that'll open in December was developed by SG Blocks, a company that turns shipping containers into pop-up businesses, and the architecture firm Grimshaw. It'll sit across from Terminal 6 on the lower arrival levels.

Clarity Lab Solutions will operate the facility where visitors can purchase either a PCR test or a rapid antigen test that delivers results in "just a few hours." Both are diagnostic tests that scan for active infection of the virus. It is unclear how much the antigen test will cost.

"By providing easy access to on-site COVID-19 tests, we are enabling the return of air travel to destinations that require a negative test to avoid quarantines or other government restrictions and helping our guests who must travel during the holidays and beyond to do so safely," said Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, which owns LAX, in a statement.

In September, the airport introduced the testing centers in a statement claiming they would likely be erected by Nov. 1.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.

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