New push for faster COVID-19 test results

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – More than 1.4 million tests have been given in Louisiana.
While some testing options are going away, others are popping up with some concern about accuracy for rapid tests results.

You’ve probably seen the signs. COVID-19 testing with 24 hour results. Randy Butler is a Baton Rouge native whose Houston lab is behind it.

“I kept getting contacted by friends and family asking if we could help provide them a test because they couldn’t get tested in a reasonable amount of time,” said Butler.

He said friends and family told him they were waiting from seven to 12 days. His 24 hour COVID lab just expanded testing to Baton Rouge.

It is offering 1,000 nasal swab tests a day at no out of pocket costs to anyone with symptoms or who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you have no symptoms, but need a test, it will cost you $139. You’ll get your results back between 36 and 48 hours. To get it in 24 hours, it will cost you $200.

Free surge testing sites across the Capital area are ending Wednesday, but now there’s a new push to get faster testing. Tuesday, Louisiana joined a six-state testing agreement to expand the use of rapid antigen tests.

Dr. Alex Billioux with the Louisiana Department of Health said, “Louisiana is ready to partner with other states, whether they be our regional partners or partners from around the country to ensure that Louisianans have access to timely test results.”

Louisiana is in discussions with test makers authorized by the FDA to buy 500,000 tests that will give results in 15 to 20 minutes. These are the same tests expected to go out to nursing homes.
Some are still questioning the accuracy of the results. Butler said testing is all about health and helping the economy.

“People who own small businesses can’t afford to keep paying their staff members to stay at home in the event they could be at work just out of possibility of being exposed,” said Butler.

Testing is Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more about the 24 hour testing results, click here.

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