Mobile testing sites will soon roll into Livingston Parish.
Starting May 26, residents of Livingston Parish as well as the other parishes in the Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) Region 9 will have more local options for COVID-19 testing thanks to a new three-way partnership that aims to bring testing to the underserved areas of the state.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health, local parish governments, and the Louisiana National Guard are teaming up to bring mobile testing sites throughout Region 9 to make testing more readily available.
LDH Region 9 is made up of St. Tammany, Washington, Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes.
In a statement, Dr. Gina Lagarde, regional medical director for the five-parish region, said the partnership will greatly increase testing opportunities for residents, “especially in the rural and unincorporated areas of these parishes.”
“Several hospitals and other community testing sites in our region have offered COVID-19 tests that have helped us to understand the prevalence of the coronavirus in our region,” Lagarde said.
“We are now working to increase the number of test sites, to bring the sites closer to where people live, shop and visit during a typical day, and serve those communities that may have been under served or could not access a central test site.”
Mobile testing uses trucks and equipment operated by the Louisiana National Guard to bring testing kits to neighborhood locations such as schools, churches, retail stores, parks and other local neighborhood locations.
Starting Tuesday, May 26, the mobile testing units and Louisiana National Guard testing personnel will visit different sites in St. Tammany, Washington, Livingston, Tangipahoa, and St. Helena parishes.
In Livingston Parish, mobile testing sites will go to Denham Springs, Walker, Springfield, Livingston, French Settlement, Albany, and Maurepas.
Testing will last for four weeks through June 19.
Mobile testing sites have already been established in Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8, Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters on Friday. Mobile testing sites will begin in both Regions 4 and 9 next week, followed by Regions 6 and 7 the following week, he said.
The increase in testing goes with Edwards’ stated goal that has Louisiana administering 200,000 COVID-19 tests a month through at least May and June to determine hotspots and outbreaks. As of May 22, the state has completed 143,577 tests, Edwards said Friday.
Below is a schedule of the testing sites coming to Livingston Parish.
-- Tuesday, May 26: Denham Springs, L.M. Lockhart Center, 320 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
-- Wednesday, May 27: Denham Springs, Walmart Neighborhood Market, 25820 LA Hwy. 16
-- Saturday, May 30: Denham Springs, Live Oak Middle, 8444 Cecil Drive
-- Monday, June 1: Walker, Sidney Hutchinson Park, 13750 Ball Park Road
-- Tuesday, June 2: Denham Springs, Gray’s Creek Elementary, 11400 LA Hwy. 1033
-- Wednesday, June 3: Livingston, The Church International, 26490 S. Frost Road
-- Monday, June 8: Livingston, Livingston Parish Fairgrounds, 19869 Fairgrounds Road
-- Tuesday, June 9: Albany, Albany High, 29700 One Hornet Lane
-- Wednesday, June 10: French Settlement, St. Joseph Catholic Church, 15710 LA Hwy. 16
-- Monday, June 15: Springfield, American Legion Hall, 26200 LA Hwy. 43
-- Tuesday, June 16: Killian, Killian Town Hall, 28284 LA Hwy. 22
-- Wednesday, June 17: Maurepas, Maurepas High, 23923 LA Hwy. 22
The sites, which will be staffed by members of the Louisiana National Guard, are open five days per week. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, the first week will start Tuesday, May 26 and run through Saturday, May 30. After that, the schedule starting June 1 will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to approximately 11 a.m.
Testing is open for any Louisiana resident 18 years of age and older with valid Louisiana identification. The testing site will be conducted as a drive-thru test site.
Once on site, those being tested will need to wear a mask and stay in their cars for verification of eligibility criteria, ID check and self-administered test. Walk-up testing is not preferred due to safety concerns, but walk-ups will not be turned away, according to the Office of Public Health.
The site will use a self-administered nasal swab test that will allow those being tested to swab their own nose on site while in their vehicles, observed by a trained medical volunteer to ensure the sample is taken correctly, and drop the sealed sample into a container on their way out of the drive-thru site.
Once received, the Office of Public Health will contact those who were tested to give them their results and share any necessary information.
While awaiting results, health officials urge individuals who have been tested to follow CDC guidelines and take steps to help prevent the virus from spreading to people in their home and community.