The local medical community has stepped up on several fronts to battle COVID-19 on the front lines and in the lab.  But that battle is far from over. Help in the form of cash is now on the way from the Caddo Parish Commission.

The panel has approved the donation of as much as $1 million dollars for the LSU Health Center for Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT). This money will be used for a new building to expand the local medical school and for continued research.

The Commission approved spending up to $334,000 a year over the next three years.

 Commission President Lyndon B. Johnson says “LSU Health Shreveport has played a critical role since the onset of COVID-19, and the Commission realized very early on the importance of partnership to fully fight this pandemic and we are excited about the continued partnership with LSUHS and what this will mean for Caddo Parish and our region. The expansion of the Center for Emerging Viral Threats undoubtedly creates the opportunity for growth and the addition of new programs and further positive impact to the economy of North Louisiana,”

LSU Health has been on the forefront in the effort to get vaccines out to our community and that program continues. LSU Health has also led the way for testing as our community began the fight against this deadly virus.

DR. G.E. Ghali, Chancellor of LSU Health says "LSU Health Shreveport offers our deepest appreciation to the Caddo Parish Commission for their generous financial support of the Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT).  These funds are an investment in the current and future economy of our community and the growth of LSU Health Shreveport. We value the ongoing support of Caddo Commission with the most recent support being of early community COVID testing in underserved areas which alleviated any major virus clusters in the parish,"

The expansion of the CEVT will allow the local school to increase the number of medical school students from 150 to 200. This new facility will also mean more programs can be added at the school. This is the first time a new building will be constructed at the local Med School since 2008.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.