Actor and philanthropist Sean Penn is joining the fight against COVID-19 with his disaster relief foundation, Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE). CORE is teaming up with Los Angeles officials and the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) to boost the region’s testing capacity. LA County currently has two dozen drive-in testing sites and two walk-up testing sites.
Penn’s foundation trained with the fire department, which has allowed CORE volunteers to back up the fire department when administering the swab tests for the virus. Now, Los Angeles Daily News reports that 70 CORE volunteers are working at four testing sites.
“That allows us to pull back our firefighters and paramedics and put them into other critical missions,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas, Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Penn appeared alongside LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at his daily public COVID-19 briefings at the Crenshaw Christian Center. He expressed his hope for CORE’s partnership with LA County to be a model for other local governments.
“It’s what I hope will be a model in terms of government and NGO [non-governmental organizations] partnerships that can be replicated not only in Los Angeles and California, but throughout the country,” Penn said.
CORE is also operating a COVID-19 testing site in Malibu in partnership with the City of Malibu and offering free testing, prioritizing giving free testing to first responders, healthcare workers and those experiencing symptoms.
Penn told MSNBC his team is “multiplying every day” the number of sites they’re establishing while still being thorough. He said, “One of the things we always have to remember is that all of this is very liquid because the tests do change, we do look towards the next most rapid test that has integrity.”
At this time, testing in LA County is only for people with coronavirus symptoms — fever, cough or shortness of breath.
Watch Penn’s full interview below: