Louisiana 'surge' testing sites extended as state sees testing shortages
BATON ROUGE- Since July 6, at least 20,577 people have been tested at one of the five federally-funded surge testing sites in the capital area, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during his COVID-19 briefing Thursday.
That total is a far cry from the 5,000 daily testing goal. With plenty of the allotted tests remaining, the sites, originally expected to close Saturday, will remain open.
"They will remain open now until we use all 60,000 of those tests," Edwards said. "We are also going to be able to deploy beyond the Baton Rouge area and get into Acadiana and Lake Charles areas as well."
Both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients - anyone thinking they need to be tested - are welcome at those sites.
But the state is seeing shortages in tests and testing supplies elsewhere. That's why state health officials are asking positive patients not to re-test simply looking for a negative result.
"With the strains that we're seeing on access to testing facilities, it is not appropriate to test otherwise healthy people to prove negativity," Dr. Alex Billioux of the Louisiana Department of Health said.
Billioux said workplaces should not require employees who have previously tested positive to get a negative test result before returning to work. Most COVID-positive patients are safe to return to work after being symptom-free for at least three days, more than 10 days after the original positive test.
"Really you have to be a vulnerable, nursing home resident or somebody who is otherwise particularly ill or immuno-compromised, that we have concern that you may not clear the virus as quickly for us to think you need to be restested," Billioux said.
If a positive patient is tested again, any additional positive tests from that person are not included in LDH's total case count.
"To be clear, you are only ever a case once," Billioux said.