The number of coronavirus cases climbed in East Baton Rouge Parish in numbers reported Thursday, and the coroner's office reported another death, as the mayor's office said it would deploy mobile units across the city throughout the month of June in an effort to reach anyone who believes they need to be tested for the virus.
“As our community has now entered Phase One of reopening, receiving a COVID-19 nasal swab test is one the most important steps our residents should take to protect their health and the health of their loved ones,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported 35 new COVID-19 cases in East Baton Rouge Parish on Thursday, and the parish coroner's office reported that a 70-year-old nursing home resident had died from the disease Wednesday.
East Baton Rouge Parish now reports 243 deaths and 3,526 cases since the outbreak was first detected in the state in March.
Deaths in the broader Capital region rose by seven on Thursday to 537 since the outbreak began, after hovering around two to five deaths per day over the past nine to 10 days.
Across the 12-parish Baton Rouge area, new cases totaled 63, pushing the number to 7,479. Even though new cases inched upward slightly in East Baton Rouge, growth in new cases in the parish and in the broader area continue to growth of around or just under 1% day-to-day.
The new testing sites announced by the mayor do not require a doctor’s order and are offered at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient, Broome said. These mobile sites supplement the roughly two dozen fixed testing sites across the parish.
These locations do not require an appointment and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Also, patients using the Baton Rouge General Mid City testing site will now be directed to the recently opened CareSouth testing site on Florida Boulevard, located close by. Following this transition, the Mid City site will begin to phase out over the next three weeks. Beginning Monday, the second community testing site outside OLOL North Campus on Airline Highway will transition to testing inside the clinic.
Since March 16, 2,391 people have been tested at the community sites.
Ochsner Baton Rouge, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, BREC and a number of area Federally Qualified Health Centers partnered with the city-parish for the testing initiative.