Two new COVID-19 test sites added, CDC issues new quarantine guidance

Staff Report

The Louisiana Department of Health has set up two new drive-through COVID-19 testing sites in the Capital area. 

Both antigen and PCR tests are available, according to an LDH news release. 

The following sites will be open from noon to 6 p.m. until Dec. 30 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 31:

  • Louisiana Leadership Institute, 5763 Hooper Road, Baton Rouge
  • LSU Mini-Barn, 90 Ag Center Drive, Baton Rouge 

LDH recommends COVID-19 testing for all individuals who are experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

Results for PCR tests are available within approximately 24 to 48 hours in most cases. LDH does not get any test results, and we recommend that patients who get tested ask staff at the testing site when to expect results and where to call to get those results. When getting tested, we recommend everyone ask for a phone number to call if you haven’t received your results within the timeframe you were given.

Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. However, it is important to stay in touch with your doctor and seek emergency medical care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs.

With the continuing surge of Omicron cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled in one week while cases and percent positivity continue to climb. LDH urges the public to stay safe and take precautions this holiday season - wear your mask indoors and when unable to distance outdoors, limit exposure to those outside your household, and get vaccinated and boosted if eligible. 

There are COVID-19 testing sites throughout Louisiana. Visit ldh.la.gov/covidtesting or call 211 to find a test site near you. As a reminder, all community-based sites operated by the Louisiana National Guard (LANG) will be closed on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

A National Guard member waits for a vehicle to finish the registration process at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Dec. 28 in Akron, Ohio.

CDC issues new guidance on isolation & quarantine periods 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine periods for the general public. 

According to the CDC, individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can leave home after isolating for five days if they have no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving. They should also wear a well-fitting mask for an additional five days to minimize the risk of infecting others. Individuals who have a fever should stay home until the fever resolves.

Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who have been boosted, completed the primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines within the last six months, or completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last two months should: wear a well-fitted mask around others for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test on day 5 or immediately if symptoms develop.

Individuals who are unvaccinated, completed the primary series of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines more than six months ago, or completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two months ago should quarantine by staying home for 5 days; take a COVID-19 test on day 5 or immediately if symptoms develop; and wear a well-fitting mask for an additional 5 days after quarantine.

LDH is currently reviewing newly released guidance to determine how it will apply across various settings. Quarantine and isolation are critical in staying safe and protecting others against Omicron.

COVID-19 cases, emergency department visits and hospitalizations are sharply increasing throughout Louisiana. These alarming increases are attributable to the Omicron variant, which spreads faster than other variants and is now the dominant strain in our state. LDH recommends getting vaccinated and boosted, masking indoors as well as outside when distancing is not possible, and limiting your exposure to those not in your household. 

To learn about vaccination sites near you, call Louisiana's vaccine hotline at 855-453-0774. For a list of locations near you, visit https://ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine or text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish.