Caddo Commission may pay $300,000 to bring mobile testing for COVID-19 to underserved areas of the parish

The outreach effort would be a result of a proposed partnership with the medical school at LSU Health-Shreveport

Proposal aims to bring COVID-19 testing to underserved areas

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — You’ve likely heard all about coronavirus hotspots, including several in the Shreveport area and elsewhere in Caddo Parish.

Now there’s an effort to bring drive-through testing for COVID-19 to the areas that need it the most.

When it comes to medical care — including testing for coronavirus, many rural areas are vastly underserved and need help, said Dr. Connie Arnold, a professor at LSU Health-Shreveport.

“It’s important to, especially for those who are over 65, first responders, underlying conditions, if they have symptoms, it’s really important to get tested, " added Arnold, who is a member of the LSUHS COVID-19 Community Outreach Team and is described as being world-renowned in the field of health literacy.

The outreach effort would be a result of a proposed partnership between the Caddo Commission and the medical school at LSU Health-Shreveport.

Medical school leaders said they plan to repurpose their mobile mammography van for the COVID-19 testing outreach. They just need the green light from the Parish Commission.

Commissioners will vote Thursday afternoon on whether the parish should spend $300,000 to bring mobile testing services to the underserved areas of Caddo.

Commissioner Steven Jackson, is spearheading the effort to fund the partnership and wants to use money in the parish’s reserve trust fund to pay that $300,000.

When dealing with coronavirus, he said, it’s no exaggeration to describe the situation as a matter of life or death.

“Absolutely. What we know is that people are dying at home. People are not able to jump up. A lot of people don’t have a primary care doctor.”

To get the money out of the parish’s reserve trust fund would require a super majority of the commissioners — eight of 12 — to pass the measure.

And because Caddo is under emergency orders, Jackson explained, it would only take the one vote Thursday to make it happen.

Privately, some have questioned why the Caddo Commission should foot the bill.

Jackson explained that, if approved, the parish would front the $300,000 then likely get reimbursed through state and federal relief programs.

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