Surge testing sites will remain open in Ascension, EBR, and Livingston until all 60K test kits are used

Surge testing sites in the Baton Rouge area will stay open until 60,000 tests have been completed

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials say the will not shut down the five surge testing sites between Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes until 60,000 test kits have been used.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, July 17, only about 20,000 tests had been completed across the five sites, according to a spokesperson for Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s office.

“This Sunday, yeah, we thought we’d be done, but we’re not. Instead, they’ve graciously agreed to allow us to extend it until we use all 60,000 tests,” said Kimberly Hood, COVID-19 community testing coordinator.

What is a self-administered COVID-19 test like?

“They’re going to remain open now until we use all 60,000 of those tests, and we are also going to be able to deploy beyond the Baton Rouge area, get into Acadiana and Lake Charles area,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.

The new sites have struggled to reach their daily goal of testing 5,000 people. Mayor Broome continues to urge people to get tested. The five tests sites are part of the federal government’s effort to support communities that have been identified as COVID-19 hot spots, or communities where there has been a recent and intense level of new cases and hospitalizations related to the ongoing outbreak.

“This rapid increase in testing is one of the most important things we can do right now to protect public health and our local economy. Knowing if you have COVID-19 and what to do to prevent further spreading the virus will save lives and lessen the economic impact in our community,” said Mayor Broome. “I implore our residents to take advantage of these testing sites if they have symptoms or were exposed to COVID-19.”

Expanded surge testing hours

These sites are being stood up to help stamp out community spread. Currently, there are dramatic increases of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). The biggest increase in cases continue to be in the 18 to 29 age group. There are also upticks in young people under 18 and in people aged 30 to 39.

“Even people who have transportation challenges or who live in Baker or Zachary are able to access this, so we’ll be moving our mobile testing sites around, but our four fixed sites will be up and running somewhere between that August 2 and August 5 window,” said Hood.

“Whatever’s convenient for you. You can come on your lunch break, you can come in the morning, in the afternoon, we have extended hours, so you come to the site. If you’re preregistered, you kind of breeze straight through, you get to the collection area. There are healthcare professionals who are there to watch you collect your sample and make sure you get a good collection, and then you’re off the site, and then within three to five days, you get an email at the email address you provided letting you know that your results are ready. You log onto the portal and then you get your results,” said Hood.

These increases are tied to increased movement as more businesses resume operations, with inconsistent adherence by the public to recommended precautions like social distancing and masking. According to LDH, there have been 19 outbreaks associated with bars across the state.

The testing effort is supported locally by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the Louisiana National Guard, and LDH.

TESTING SITES:

  • LSU – Alex Box Stadium parking lot (Gourrier Avenue, Baton Rouge)
  • Southern University – FG Clark parking lot (801 Harding Blvd., Baton Rouge)
  • Cortana Mall (9701 Cortana Pl., Baton Rouge)
  • Healing Place Church - mobile testing site (19202 Highland Rd.) - closed Sundays
  • Lamar Dixon Expo Center (9039 S St. Landry Ave., Gonzales)
  • Livingston Parish Governmental Complex (20300 Government Blvd., Livingston)
The above map shows locations where anyone can get a free COVID-19 test.
The above map shows locations where anyone can get a free COVID-19 test. (Source: Office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome)

Testing will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Test sites will remain open until supplies of 60,000 test kits run out.

*eTrueNorth will process the tests. Results should take three to five days. More details are below.

It is not required to preregister for a test but encouraged at: www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com. On-site registration will be accommodated, but it will take longer than arriving with your preregistration complete and your QR Code either on your phone or printed from the registration site. Those who arrive preregistered will be escorted to the express line.

RELATED: Baton Rouge hospitals running out of ICU nurses, administrators say

In order to be tested at a HHS test site, people must provide a telephone number and email address. An ID is not required.

Scan this QR code to access the eTrueNorth portal (where you can find your test results).

Scan this QR code to access the eTrueNorth portal (where you can find your test results)
Scan this QR code to access the eTrueNorth portal (where you can find your test results) (Source: Mohsep)

These HHS sites are using the laboratory eTrueNorth to process the test. According to eTrueNorth, it should take between three and five days for someone who is tested to get their results. Test results will be provided by email notification (required to log back into website to view).

If someone tests positive, they will also be contacted by phone.

Test results will also be posted in the eTrueNorth patient portal.

There is not a phone number to call for results. Results will only be provided by email and in the portal.

If you test positive for COVID-19, or if you were in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by state contact tracers calling from 877-766-2130; save this number in your phone. During that call, you can be connected to resources that are available to help you safely quarantine.

LDH strongly urges you to self-quarantine while you wait for your test results. Testing does not replace quarantining. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine at your home and away from others, including your family, if possible, for 14 days since the date of exposure. Even if your test comes back negative prior to end of the quarantine period, you still need to remain quarantined for the full 14 days. This is because the incubation period for the virus can be up to 14 days and unless you were tested on the fourteenth day from your exposure, a negative test earlier in the quarantine period does not mean you are not infected.

Who should be tested?

Tests are available to people who have COVID-19 symptoms such as: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Individuals who do not have symptoms but who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 can also be tested. However, such a person should wait a few days to be tested from when they were exposed. This is because the time between when a person was exposed and when the test would be positive can vary from 4 to 14 days.

Testing is open to everyone. In addition, anyone who is worried about possibly having the virus can be tested. You do not need to be a resident of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Test site details

Testing is open for any Louisiana resident 5 years of age and older. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

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 preregistered and for those who must register on-site.

The site will use a self-administered nasal swab test that will allow those being tested to swab their own nose on site while in their vehicles, observed by a trained medical volunteer to ensure the sample is taken correctly, and drop the sealed sample into a container on their way out of the drive-thru site.

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