Governor Edwards hopes to increase testing to 200,000 residents by the end of May

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Governor Edwards says he hopes to increase testing to 200,000 residents by the end of this month.

As positive cases continue to level off, Governor John Bel Edwards stressed the importance of increasing testing through the state.

"We are targeting an increase in testing of 100,000 tests per month, to get to 200,000 tests by the end of May,” Edwards said.

He says they’re targeting areas that are most important to test

“This requires that blueprint, where you have to figure out exactly where those places are that you need to be testing, and then put in place all of the planning and resources necessary to get it done,” Edwards said.

He says they're utilizing tools like mobile apps for communities with high positive tests, and those who don't have transportation to test sites.

Dr. Alex Billoux with the State Health Department says they've invested over half a million dollars in equipment, and over $3 million in supplies towards the state lab.

"We've been able to do a significant amount of testing over time, but we are also increasing our ability to test in order to reach specific communities,” Billoux said. "If you remember the early days of the epidemic, most testing was going on in the state lab and we continue to see the state lab as a key asset, especially in serving populations like our nursing homes and our prisons."

He says they're now collaborating with other labs across the state. "We are also asking them about their needs. We're coordinating our testing efforts so we're sure that as we're getting supplies, or as we're seeing populations that need to be tested, we are able to coordinate around those,” Billoux said.

As testing continues to increase each week, he hopes working with facilities throughout the state will help reach their goal of 200,000 tests by the end of this month.

“Another heartening trend that we're seeing is that as we're expanding the overall tests, we are seeing that the percent positive, the amount of that orange bar compared to that blue bar is coming down a little bit too and that means we really are getting out ahead,” Billoux said.

State officials say this last week, 39,000 tests were completed, and they’re continuing to improve each week.

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