LAFAYETTE, La. — Wednesday morning Lafayette Parish’s most at-risk citizens will have two new ways to be screened for coronavirus.
By dialing 311, people will be able to get a mobile screening 24 hours a day by a medical professional. In-person screenings will occur from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. outside the Cajundome Convention Center near Reinhardt Drive.
Law enforcement will be directing two lanes of vehicles for mass health screenings, but only certain people will qualify.
“This is a precious resource right now, and we need to get it to the maximum benefit of the population,” warned Dr. Andy Blaylock, The Louisiana Emergency Medical Unit President.
“This is not for the worried well,” added Lafayette General Health’s Vice-President of Quality and Clinical Risk Management Joan Stokes. “The process is targeting the highest risk in our community, and we have to do it this way so we can protect them.”
High risk means health care workers with direct contact with confirmed suspected COVID-19 cases, pregnant women, those with immunosuppressive symptoms, those 60 years or older, or infants younger than 10 weeks.
Each screenee needs a fever higher than 100.3 and respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath or a cough to be tested for influenza. If there is a negative flu test, the patient’s swab will be sent out of state for a COVID-19 test which could take seven to eight days to yield results with the current backlog.
“We’re going to operate this as long as we need to operate it,” promised Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory during a Tuesday press conference.
The primary resource officials are encouraging before even considering a Cajundome trip is the 311 call center where screenings will be available 24 hours a day starting by Wednesday morning.
“Try 311 first,” encouraged Guillory. “Dial 311. You can go through the screening process or go to the Cajundome.”
Everyone who goes to the Cajundome will need a driver’s license and should bring an insurance card. Those without insurance will be billed $50 to pay on a later date.
“If somebody doesn’t have insurance, and they get a bill, we can work with them on that, but that shouldn’t stop people from coming out”, said Stokes.
In addition to the first screening site at the Cajundome, a Broussard location will open depending on the response tomorrow. Three other locations in Youngsville, Carencro, and Scott are in the works, but the Lafayette Consolidated Government did not have an opening date to provide for them.
Other information doctors wanted those who do come to the screenings to know is no more than two people seeking testing should come in one vehicle, no prescriptions will be issued even if you have a positive flu test, and people will be staying in their vehicle at all times during the about an hour-long screening.
More information can be found in an extended interview here.