Brian Bowland, a senior clinical lab specialist at UCLA Health System, prepares a kit used in coronavirus detection.

Brian Bowland, a senior clinical lab specialist at UCLA Health System, prepares a kit used in coronavirus detection. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES - A handful of NBA teams, including the Lakers, have offered coronavirus testing for their players since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first to test positive March 11, whether they have symptoms or not, providing them a service that isn't available to the general public.

Due to a shortage of coronavirus testing in America, health officials asked public clinics to test only those with severe symptoms. Private clinics that offer testing are not placed under similar restrictions, but are encouraged to limit their testing to those with severe symptoms. In Los Angeles County, as of Monday afternoon, only 1,100 people had been tested, which amounts to about .01% of the county's population.

NBA teams, though, often have better access to medical care than others. Once the league took steps to combat the threat of coronavirus, they asked teams to identify an infectious disease specialist and a process for testing their players should the need arise.

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