Home : News
Guard News

La. Guard assists at new Baton Rouge COVID-19 testing sites

By Master Sgt. Toby Valadie | Louisiana National Guard | July 9, 2020

RELATED MEDIA


Guidance from the CDC   (Related Link)

U.S. response   (Related Link)

White House-CDC response   (Related Link)

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana National Guard is supporting four new COVID-19 test sites in Baton Rouge as part of its statewide response to the coronavirus by more than 1,140 Soldiers and Airmen.

The added locations, at LSU’s Alex Box Stadium parking lot, Southern University, Cortana Mall and the Lamar Dixon Expo Center, are to better assist communities where there has been an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“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.

“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.”

Members of the Louisiana Guard have tested more than 108,000 people at more than 30 testing sites during the pandemic.

“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.”