LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The demand for COVID-19 testing in Southwest Louisiana has increased substantially within recent weeks. This after the federal government listed Louisiana as a hotspot in the recent surge of Coronavirus cases nationwide.
However, a new initiative aims to get you your test results quicker.
The “Geaux Get Tested” initiative will extend regular hours of operation for local testing beginning July 13 and lasting through July 17, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
Hours for Monday through Friday will be from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., according to the LDH website.
“In the last couple of weeks, it’s definitely increased...there’s a lot more positive cases..we’re testing over 200 a day,” said test administrator 2nd Lt. Callen Smith. “Now that our hours got extended, we’re a little over 200 just this afternoon. Being open till 4oclock, I think we could see upwards of 300 tests here today.”
Louisiana is now third per capita in the nation for daily new cases. LDH Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacy Cavanaugh said the goal is to get more people tested while decreasing the rate of positivity.
“The primary change in mobile testing this week is that we have access to a new lab called EtrueNorth that is able to provide test results within 72 hours...which is a huge change from previous turnaround times that we were seeing ranging from 10 to 14 days,” Cavanaugh said.
She says the extended turnaround time for getting results back due to the high demand has made tracking the virus a bit more challenging.
“By the time people get results 14 days later, if it truly takes that long to get results...they could be out of their isolation period before they know they’re positive.”
Since surge testing began in other parts of the state on July 7th, more than 3,500 people have been tested for COVID-19 across Louisiana.
“So the rapid turnaround time that we’re able to offer this week will be very helpful in trying to stop the spread,” Cavanaugh said.
Dr. Cavanaugh says as of right now, surge testing will only be available this week. It’s not required to pre-register for a test at the regional sites, although it is strongly encouraged.
The sites are located at:
· Monday, July 13: Oakdale Police Station, 118 N. 10th St.
· Wednesday, July 15: Beaucare, 628 High School Road, DeRidder
· Monday, July 13: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive
· Tuesday, July 14: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive
· Wednesday, July 15: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive
· Thursday, July 16: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive
· Friday, July 17: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive or
· Friday, July 17: McNeese Cowboy Stadium (in front of Athletics Field House), 700 Blue and Gold Drive
· Tuesday, July 14: Grand Lake Fireman Center, 965 LA 384
JEFF DAVIS PARISH
· Thursday, July 16: Multipurpose Building, 403 Baker Street, Jennings
Testing at the sites is open to any Louisiana resident 16 years of age and older, according to Cavanaugh. In order to be tested, people must provide a telephone number and an email address. A photo ID is not required.
The testing site will be conducted as a drive-thru test site. Once on-site, those being tested will need to wear a mask and stay in their cars. There will be separate lines for those who have pre-registered and for those who must register on-site.
Regional sites are using the laboratory eTrueNorth to process the test. According to eTrueNorth, it should take between 3 and 5 days for someone who is tested to get their results.
The testing effort is supported locally by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Louisiana National Guard and the Louisiana Department of Health.