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Turning up the testing

City of Grambling adds second drive-thru site
Thursday, May 21, 2020
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Leader photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT

A Primary Health Services Center worker administers a drive-thru COVID-19 swab test Wednesday morning outside of the Grambling Health Center.

GRAMBLING — The city of Grambling has doubled down on its effort to help gain a better understanding of coronavirus case numbers in the area to help try to prevent spread of the illness.

Last week The Health Hut began testing at Grambling City Hall on Tuesdays, and on Wednesday, Primary Health Services Center began doing drive-through tests at the Grambling Health Center located at the corner of U.S. Highway 80 and R.W.E. Jones Drive.

Primary Health Services Center Operations Manager Victoria Elliott said the tests being conducted by PHS in Grambling are being sent to Quest Diagnostics, a private testing facility in Dallas, with results being sent back in five to seven days.

Patients simply drive up to a station outside the Grambling Health Center, fill out necessary forms and are administered the swab test without having to leave their vehicle.

“Every once in a while we might get results back in three days, but I stand by five to seven days because that’s been the norm so far,” Elliott said. “We do telehealth on the back end to give people their results, so they don’t have to come back. We want to limit exposure as much as possible for everybody, including our staff.

“Our percentage rate is about 98% accuracy, which is really high and really good. We’re getting in 200 to 500 tests a week, so we’ve been able to handle everyone who has wanted one so far. We haven’t had to turn anybody away.”

Grambling Mayor Ed Jones said the testing being done by PHS is part of an attempt for the state to get a clearer picture of COVID-19 case numbers.

“This testing at the Health Center will be going on indefinitely every Wednesday from (9 a.m. - 1 p.m.),” Jones said. “And on Tuesdays from (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) The Health Hut is testing at (Grambling) City Hall. We’re just trying to get as many people tested as we can. I think the state was trying to get at least 200,000 tested by the end of the week or so.

“We’re trying to send them numbers by the end of the week. If we can test and trace, maybe that will help.”

Elliott said cost isn’t necessarily a factor being considered with the testing Primary Health Services is doing.

“We’re taking insurance information and billing providers for the tests, “ Elliott said. “But if someone doesn’t have insurance, we have a form for them to fill out, and we’re still testing them.”