Wait times for COVID-19 test results in Baton Rouge grow as demand surges

Residents can expect up to a seven-day wait to receive results from the drive-thru COVID-19 testing center that opened last week at Baton Rouge General’s Mid City campus, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome announced today. 

Officials originally had expected a three- to-five-day wait. Broome, along with BR General Program Manager Trey Nelson, blame the delay on private labs flooded with COVID-19 tests. 

It’s also significantly longer than in New Orleans, where Ochsner Health System launched testing last week with an estimated 24- to-48-hour turnaround time. Last week, Ochsner President and CEO Warner Thomas indicated the system was planning on opening a second in-house COVID-19 testing lab in Shreveport. 

As of this afternoon, there were 1,795 reported cases of the virus in Louisiana—75 of which are in Baton Rouge. Since the community drive-thru testing site opened on Florida Boulevard last week, 904 COVID-19 tests had been conducted there, according to the mayor. 

Broome warns that East Baton Rouge Parish could be the next New Orleans if residents don’t adhere to officials’ pleas for social distancing. On Tuesday, she sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to increase domestic production of medical supplies and equipment as well as to allocate more HUD money to state and local governments for emergency shelters. 

“Based on the reduced traffic and business closures, I’m optimistic we can flatten the curve,” Broome says.

Read more stories on how the coronavirus is impacting the Baton Rouge business community. 

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