BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Finding a COVID-19 test in the state is a struggle as cases of the Omicron variant increase. Here in the capital area, there are zero rapid kits available at community testing sites.
The CVS on Bluebonnet Boulevard is sold out on test kits. According to their website, there are zero rapid tests within 100 miles of Baton Rouge. The Walgreens on Perkins Road was also sold out. Except for one sitting on the shelf — which may break the bank at over $120.
“Over the New Year’s Eve weekend we saw about 450 come through our community testing sites,” said Ochsner Regional Medical Director Dr. Aldo Russo.
The Ochsner Health System has seen a spike in testing since the Omicron surge. Ochsner is offering PCR testing through its community sites. Results take between one and three days. Rapid tests are only available at Ochsner’s busiest urgent care clinics.
“If you have no symptoms or you don’t feel bad at all. We recommend our patients go to our community sites, that way we decompress the volume in our emergency rooms and urgent cares,” said Russo.
Even at the local pharmacies, demand is high but supply is low.
“Soon as we get them, they sell off the shelf within minutes,” said Dr. Eric Peters, owner of Lagniappe Pharmacy.
Peters will soon offer testing at his pharmacies after seeing the high demand in the community.
“We are ramping up staff. We are expecting 120 of the at-home tests next week and 180 for the actual ones for the stores,” he said.
Peters is currently waiting on backorder shipments, while the state is gearing up for millions of tests to be sent from the federal government.
“It’s another challenge, but it’s a challenge that we welcome. Being a healthcare provider, you never know what can come through the door,” said Peters.
Information on COVID-19 testing is available here.