Dr. Martha Whyte from Louisiana's Department of Public Health talks about the plan to expand the availability of testing for the virus.

Whyte explains that beginning Wednesday, January 5, the LSU Health Shreveport Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) will be moving its’ community COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts back to the Louisiana State Fairgrounds. This temporary move, Whyte says, is being made to reduce wait times and to accommodate more individuals each day.

Here's what Dr. Whyte told KEEL:

"We have a lot of disease in the community and lots of people wanting to get tested," Whyte says, adding that the Linwood facility was incapable of handling the increased numbers, "We just want to remind people that testing isn't an emergency. It's good to know what is making you ill. Right now, the chance is high that it will be (COVID).

"Symptoms to get tested, if you're having flu-like illness, achy, really bad sinus pains, really bad headaches, if you're coughing a lot.

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"We are not encouraging people to be tested who are just in close contact. We are asking symptomatic people only. And if...you are having shortness of breath or having chest pains, or if you're running high fever, you need to see (a physician). The biggest issue is we want to not to spread it, so we want you to stay home."

Tests for COVD-19, COVID vaccinations, booster shots and third doses will all be available at the Fairgrounds Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, with gates closing at 4:30pm.  Test results will be available within 24 to 48 hours with PCR tests being considered the most accurate.  Pre-registration is not required for testing.

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