Coronavirus testing now available in Ascension Parish, but there’s a catch

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 10:36 PM CDT
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ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - There’s still only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Ascension Parish as of Wednesday, March 18.

However, 49 people were tested Wednesday for the first time at a drive-thru site at Our Lady of the Lake Ascension, otherwise known as St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales.

Dozens of nurses, doctors, and staff members were covered head to toe as they tested patients for the coronavirus.

“For those that really do need to be tested, we’re trying to provide them an opportunity to get corona testing and not have to go into a doctor’s office, and not have to go to a hospital,” said Dr. Chris Trevino, chief medical officer and administrator at Our Lady of the Lake Ascension.

Dr. Trevino says this testing is only for patients within the Lake’s Physician Group, and a doctor must sign off before you get your test.

A coronavirus testing site has been opened in Gonzales.
A coronavirus testing site has been opened in Gonzales.(WAFB)

“So the operation goes from 1 to 3 [p.m.], so we’re done for the day. We don’t have anyone else pending the test. We’ll see what tomorrow and Friday bring, and if we’re lucky, we’ll have low numbers,” said Trevino.

Doctors are hopeful that they test at least 50 patients each day, but that only depends on how many test kits they have.

This all while both the state and the nation are dealing with a test kit backlog it seems.

“We have to evaluate how quickly we’re going through them in the outpatient setting, as well as how many I will need should the hospital start having an influx of very sick patients. So we will always have to hold some back for the very ill that come through the ER and need testing,” said Dr. Trevino.

You’ll need to bring your license and insurance card and that doctor’s note. Make sure you’ve already been tested for the flu as well.

Doctors will swab your nose to detect for any signs of the coronavirus.

“If you haven’t had a true nasopharyngeal swab, you’re going to feel like it was a brain biopsy. Because it [nasal swab] goes back and it’s uncomfortable, and it gives a little burning sensation, but there’s no point in doing the test if we don’t do an accurate one,” said Dr. Trevino.

The tests will be sent to The Mayo Clinic and the results of the test could take days or up to a week to come back.

“The results should go back to the ordering physician, so if your primary care doctor is the one who provided the order, the results should go back to them. If you came through the emergency department and were given instructions to get an outpatient test, it will come back to the hospital,” said Trevino.

As more tests are done at centers like this one, Dr. Trevino believes there will be more cases of coronavirus not only in Ascension Parish, but across the state and country.

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