For the past several days Louisiana residents wishing to be screened or tested for the COVID-19 or coronavirus had to meet certain criteria. Not only did a prospective test subject have to meet the symptoms requirements, but they also had to be considered at "high-risk" for the disease.

After several days of testing, health officials have decided to relax those stipulations. The new criteria for anyone from Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Beauregard, or Jeff Davis Parish are now this. You must have a fever (100.4 or higher) plus at least one of these other symptoms. Those symptoms are shortness of breath, a cough, body aches, a sore throat, or a runny nose.

Screenings are scheduled to begin at the Burton Coliseum complex in Lake Charles at 9 this morning. Officials say you may begin lining up as early as 8:30. Testing for the coronavirus will continue today until 3:30. The same screening hours are scheduled for tomorrow as well.

During the screening and test, you will be swabbed in the nose by qualified medical personnel. Let me warn you, they have to swab very deeply in your nasal cavity and it's not the most pleasant experience you'll ever have, but getting the test done could save your life, so it's probably worth it, wouldn't you say?

Most test results are not finalized for several days. However, great strides have been made in expediting test results so you might not have to wait too long to find out your results.

In the meantime, be sure you self-isolate, especially if you're not feeling well, and look to local, state, and federal guidelines on how best to keep yourself and your family safe during these pandemic times.

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