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Ochsner Baton Rouge hosting drive-thru COVID-19 testing through September

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 10:20 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - You probably remember last summer we saw many large-scale drive-thru testing and vaccination sites. We thought with the vaccines rolling out those would no longer be necessary.

The drive-thru PCR tests will be conducted at the former Runnels School located at 17255 S. Harrell’s Ferry Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70816.

The drive-thru testing hours for the month of August will be 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday, and 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., on Saturdays.

Organizers say hours in September are likely to change due to previously scheduled events at the location.

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But here we are a year later and that certainly is not the case. One local hospital has decided to bring drive-thru testing sites back.

Hospital workers continue to power through the daily struggle of being overcrowded, relying on urgent care centers to take on some of the load. But in recent weeks those facilities have also become backed up.

“So, what we’ve been seeing has been going from a patient volume of about 40-50 a day up to well over 100 a day”, said Dr. Munir Abasi with the Lake Urgent Care.

Dr. Abasi says several of their clinics have temporarily closed due to staff being infected with COVID.

“We’ve had the O’Neal clinic, the Airline and Highland clinic, we’ve even had Airline near Lee close also”, Dr. Abasi continued.

And clinic shortages have caused wait times to skyrocket.

“Just for basic sort of stuff wait times have gone from an hour or 2 hours up to 3 to 5, sometimes up to 7 hour wait times”, said Dr. Abasi.

To try and release some of the stress...

“If you are looking simply for a test, we encourage you to use our site which is going to be PCR testing”, said Dr. Charlene Ho with Ochsner.

Anyone ages two and up can show up to get tested and you do not need to make an appointment. The site is open Monday through Friday from 8am - 4 pm and Saturday from 8am - 1pm. And vaccinations will begin this Friday.

“Our vaccine clinic will do Pfizer and J&J also Monday through Saturday”, said Dr. Ho.

Urgent Care Centers are asking patients who are asymptomatic or are looking to get a negative test for work clearance to take advantage of the drive-thru site.

“A drive-thru testing site is perfect if you’re just trying to get that negative test after you’ve been positive and have finished your quarantine”, said Laurie Kieronski with the Lake Urgent Care.

Doctors with the Lake Urgent Care also say they are still trying their best to fit in all the other patients with issues not related to covid such as high blood pressures, medication refills, and any broken bones.

Ochsner has the following resources available:

  • Free Ochsner information line at 844-888-2772 for 24/7 advice and COVID-19 information
  • Vaccine locations are available across the region. Please call (844) 888-2772 or use the MyOchsner app for a vaccine location near you. A list of locations is also posted weekly on Ochsner’s Facebook page and frequently asked questions are on Ochsner’s website
  • Schedule a video visit with an Ochsner provider and ask follow-up questions through secure messages using MyOchsner

To make an appointment at an Ochsner Health Center, call 225-761-5200, or visit www.Ochsner.org/BatonRouge. To learn more about COVID-19, visit www.ochsner.org/coronavirus.

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