Louisiana can now test for Coronavirus

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33/FOX 44) – Louisiana can now test for Coronavirus.

The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed that testing for the virus known as COVID-19 can now happen in-state at the Public Health State Lab in Baton Rouge.

“Having the state, the test in state, we can answer that question much faster,” Dr. Alex Billioux, the Assistant Secretary for Office of Public Health with the Louisiana Department of Health said.

Dr. Billioux said takes about four hours to run the test with the results coming back the same day.

Dr. Billioux added, “If you’re at one of the four corners furthest away from the lab, all that transport time will be taken into consideration, but certainly within 24 hours we would be able to get a result back from that test.”

That’s much less than the three or five days other states were seeing when getting results from the CDC in Atlanta.

Dr. Frank Welch, Medical Director for Community Preparedness for Louisiana, said last week that the state was given a test a couple of weeks ago, but it was faulty and it had to be sent back. Dr. Welch added that there was no immediate concern about testing since there was no backlog through the CDC.

Doctors said the new test kits were ready to use Saturday morning. This test is intended for use with upper and lower respiratory specimen from someone who meet CDC criteria for COVID-19 testing. That includes a fever, lower repiratory tract infection, you don’t have the flu and your symptoms are so severe, your doctor wants to admit you to the hospital.

As health leaders wait for a Coronavirus case, having the test in state, helps the healing happen faster.

Dr. Billioux explained, “Let somebody go back to their regular life much faster, or if they turn out to be a case, act much more quickly then on all the other people who might have been exposed and make sure that we’re also monitoring them.”

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