Geaux Get Tested: Back-to-School Blitz
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - UPDATE: The Louisiana National Guard (LANG) has decided to keep the prolonged surge hours and schedule for the Exhibition Hall testing site through August 14.
LANG will man the Exhibition Site on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. and the Tuesday/Thursday schedule from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
The other parts of the schedule remain the same.
A surge of COVID-19 testing begins this week in Cenla as part of the “Geaux Get Tested” campaign. Starting Tuesday, there will be expanded testing days and hours at the Rapides Parish Exhibition Hall, with results available within only 4 days through an online portal.
“This is a great opportunity to really see what’s out there in the community, who’s already sick,” says Dr. David Holcombe, Medical Director for Region Six.
The testing continues through August fifth- the week many students go back to school.
“This is a back to school blitz and we’re hoping that families will bring their children in to make sure that they are not positive so that they won’t be going back to school positive,” added Holcombe.
The state of Louisiana is now third in the nation per capita in the number of cases, and second per capita in testing- with over 1 million tests completed as of last week.
In a press conference Friday, Governor Edward said, “Unfortunately the numbers are not getting better.” Edwards also announced the state has an additional 60,000 test kits available as part of a federal program. Over the weekend 2,600 of those arrived in Alexandria for the testing blitz. “We are also going to be able to deploy beyond the Baton Rouge area,” Edwards said.
As other places like New York City begin moving to phases three and four, Louisiana remains stuck in a modified phase two through at least this week, adding more than 3,100 new cases Monday. “We’re not going to get out of this until there’s really, really evidence that the number of cases are actually going down,” says Holcombe.
As to when Louisiana may move on to the next phase, Dr. Holcombe says we can look to something called the “three T’s”, which stands for adequate testing, tracing, and trust. “If they’re telling them that masks will help them, and social distancing will help, for heaven sakes give a little trust, because if we’re going to get out of this, we’re going to have to have those three T’s.”
The unique time-sensitive opportunity is available to anyone who wants or needs to be tested for COVID-19 with a four-day turnaround for test results. Testing will be at the Exhibition Hall next to the Rapides Parish Coliseum. This limited event will be held Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday, July 21, 2020, through Wednesday, August 5, 2020.
The event is open to everyone, no symptoms required. This collaborative effort between the Office of Public Health and the Louisiana National Guard is meant to encourage parents, students, teachers, school employees, bus drivers, etc., to be tested before school begins. Although a negative test is only valid for the day of testing, officials will be able to identify positive individuals so they can self isolate and alert their close contacts to quarantine and test.
There will be no out of pocket expense. A telephone number and email address will be required for notifications. Each person tested will receive a bag with 5 masks for use at home, work or school.
At that site, pre-registration is helpful and if you can PRINT OUT A VOUCHER, you go directly to testing (avoid any line). At the Exhibition Hall Site, the results will be sent to your email within four days.
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