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Free COVID-19 testing starts Tuesday

Friday, May 22, 2020
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Update: date of Dubach and Simsboro testing updated per new information — May 22

Free mobile coronavirus tests will be available in Lincoln Parish starting on Tuesday and continuing through June 5.

The drive-thru selftesting program is part of an attempt to test as many people as possible in the Lincoln Parish-inclusive state health Region 8, Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Kip Franklin said.

Anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, must provide documentation that they are a Louisiana resident, at least 18 years old and have a valid Louisiana driver’s license or identification card.

Individuals will remain in their vehicles and will conduct their own nasal swabs. Louisiana National Guard medics will be on hand to instruct and assist with the testing.

Approximately 450 of the self-swab kits have been allotted to the parish, Franklin said.

Each site will initially be given 50 kits to be used on a first-come, first-serve basis, he said.

Testing will be available at each site from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. beginning with Choudrant on Tuesday.

The mobile unit will be in Grambling on Wednesday; Dubach on Thursday; and Simsboro on May 29. Tests will be available in Ruston June 1-5.

People can be tested at any site, regardless of whether they live in that municipality, Franklin said.

Here’s the schedule:

• Tuesday – Choudrant High School, 2555 Highway 80

• Wednesday – Grambling State University Performing Arts Center, 177 Blalock St.

• Thursday – Dubach School, 7710 Fellowship Road

• May 29 – Simsboro High School, 114 Tiger Drive

• June 1- 5 – Ruston Sports Complex, 1803 Champions Way

The additional testing comes as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to have issued more than 200,000 COVID-19 tests by the end of May, with that being done partially through mobile testing sites.

A state’s ability to ensure testing sites is one of the gating criteria for President Trump’s Opening Up America Again economic revitalization program. Louisiana is in Phase One of the program.

Edwards is expected to announce June 1 whether the state has done well enough stopping the spread of COVID-19 to move to Phase Two.

Region 8 has been one of the later-appearing coronavirus hotspots. The 12-parish region covers northeast Louisiana and includes Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, and West Carroll.