COVID-19 testing in Louisiana continues to run into problems

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As testing for the coronavirus ramps up across the state, now passing 1 million tests performed…there are still problems with testing which causes tremendous delays in getting back the results.

Assistant Secretary of Health for the Louisiana Department of Health, Dr. Alex Billioux, says delay time varies depending on which lab the test sample is sent to. Some labs are still struggling with supply chain issues for reagents and other materials needed for testing.

“What we are doing to try to manage that is really advocate strongly with the federal government to get more reagents to us,” said Assistant Secretary of Health for the Louisiana Department of Health, Dr. Alex Billioux. “What we can’t control is the prioritization that the private companies that provide their testing reagents are doing, and that is directed by the federal government.”

The increased delay in getting coronavirus test results has put a huge strain on the state’s testing efforts.

Some out-of-state labs are seeing a 6-10 day turnaround time. Billioux says that could soon affect community-based testing sites in Louisiana.

“So if you have no symptoms, you had no contact with anybody who has ever had covid, or even recently had covid, we are probably going to start turning you away from our community-based testing sites, so those walk-up and drive-up testing sites,” said Billioux.

Billioux says the state is taking measures to prioritize which state contracted test sites get tests confirmed. More than 1.2 million tests have been conducted in Louisiana, so far.