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More free COVID test kits available

Thursday, February 24, 2022
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Leader file photo Free COVID-19 rapid test kits are available today at various locations in Ruston, Choudrant, Dubach, Grambling and Simsboro.

Lincoln Parish residents have another opportunity to get free COVID-19 rapid test kits today through an additional allocation from the Louisiana Department of Health.

The kits will be distributed on a first come, first served basis beginning at 9 a.m. at locations in Ruston, Choudrant, Dubach, Grambling and Simsboro.

Ruston residents can pick up one kit per customer at the customer service office on the first floor of City Hall, or at the customer service drive-thru.

Vienna residents and people who live in unincorporated areas of the parish can pick up their kits at the Lincoln Parish Public Safety Complex, located at 161 Road Camp Road in Ruston.

Simsboro, Dubach, Choudrant and Grambling residents can get kits at their respective town halls.

Choudrant, Dubach and Simsboro each received 90 kits; Grambling received 180 and Ruston, 360. Some 270 kits were allocated to Vienna and rural parish residents, Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Kip Franklin said.

Franklin’s office is coordinating today’s distribution, as it has two previous ones. The parish received its first batch of 645 test kits in January.

A second batch of 450 kits came later and was distributed to municipal employees and law enforcement officers throughout the parish, Franklin said.

Though Lincoln Parish continues to see more new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the increase has trended down to 10 or fewer new cases per day. That’s down from a high of as many as 50 cases per day in December, all of which were attributed to the Omicron variant.

As of noon Wednesday, LDH reported only a five-case jump from noon on Tuesday. That gives the parish a total of 6,138 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began almost two years ago.

LDH classified another 5,262 local cases are listed as probably COVID.

For the first time in several months, the parish positivity rate has dipped below 5%. The rate is now 4.8%, down from over 12% earlier this month.

However, the community risk for contracting COVID remains high both in Lincoln Parish and statewide, according to LDH. State health officials say that’s because the peak of the Omicron surge was so high that it’s going to take time to come down.