By Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana National Guard, as directed by Governor John Bel Edwards, currently has over 1,140 soldiers and airmen assisting with the COVID-19 response, July 7.
Starting yesterday, four new testing sites have been set up in the Baton Rouge area in order to better assist communities where there has been a recent uptick in the level of new cases and hospitalizations. The added locations include: LSU’s Alex Box Stadium parking lot, Southern University, Cortana Mall and the Lamar Dixon Expo Center.
“The goal is to test a total of 5,000 people a day at four new test sites in Baton Rouge, over the next 12 to 14 days,” said Kelley Finwall, chief of staff of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases in the Office of Public Health for the Louisiana Department of Health. “While helping with coordination of testing since mid-March, I can’t express enough how helpful the Guard has been … it’s been wonderful. We couldn’t have done all we have done at the department without the Louisiana National Guard’s support and partnership.”
“Now is a really good opportunity for people to take advantage of free testing in the Baton Rouge area … all ages above 5 years old are welcome, and you don’t need to have any symptoms to qualify for testing,” said Finwall.
In order to preregister and get the results after testing, go to www.doineedacovid19test.com
“It feels great to get out to the site and actually help the community,” said Spc. Kevin Byoune, a plumber with the 1022nd Engineer Vertical Construction Company, 225th Engineer Brigade. “To get that positive feedback from the community showing us their appreciation for being here, it always gives us that extra motivation to do as much as we can.”
While having provided support to over 30 testing sites from the beginning of the response, Louisiana Guardsmen aided in the testing of nearly 108,100 citizens to date.
“Although the operations are different from hurricanes or floods, we still have the same goal … we are here to assist the community and to show them that the National Guard will always be there to answer the call,” said Sgt.
Demontray Dorsey with the 1022nd. “It’s our duty to be here to assist in any capacity.”
In order to assist civil authorities, the LANG is ensuring the health and safety of its Soldiers and Airmen. The LANG is actively taking steps to support health protection in order to maintain mission readiness, such as: limiting non mission-specific travel, educating and enforcing strict CDC-recommended hygiene measures, and monitoring Guardsmen’s temperature readings and overall health daily.