Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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With few limited kits, La. health officials selective in testing for coronavirus

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BATON ROUGE - Only one person in Louisiana has been issued a test for the new coronavirus. The Louisiana Department of Health says that person tested negative.

"We've had to anticipate, since that's such a broad category, that we will be testing many more people. We anticipate all of them will be negative as well," said Doctor Alex Billioux, with the Louisiana Department of Health.

The virus is mainly spread through close contact or through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

Billioux says there are still no known cases of coronavirus in Louisiana right now. 

"We don't have coronavirus in the state yet. We do think that we will eventually," he said. 

In Baton Rouge, testing for COVID-19 is only done at the Office of Public Health Laboratory. There are a limited number of test kits available, so not all who show symptoms of the virus can be tested.

"While we have a limited number of tests and the ability to test, we want to make sure we're using that for folks who we think actually have a risk," Billoux said.

Test kits for COVID-19 are offered free of charge to the public, but only if you qualify by the CDC guidelines. 

Billoux says they're currently looking at testing some specific groups of people. 

"People who are sick and traveling back from countries where we know coronavirus is spreading, people who are health care professionals who've treated or been next to somebody who has coronavirus... And then the third category are folks in the hospital, very sick and when we test them for flu or test them for other viruses and they're negative."


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