Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is ramping up COVID testing capacity with the goal of being able to perform 200,000 tests in a month by May.

Edwards says currently the biggest challenge to meeting that mark is not lab capacity.

“The challenges are trying to source the swabs, the viral transport medium, the reagent necessary to collect that specimen,” says Edwards.

Louisiana is second in the nation for per capita testing behind Rhode Island.

The Governor says to meet the 200,000 test objective the state is trying not to have to rely so much on importing testing supplies.

“We have, for example, some higher education 3D printers that are making the swabs that we need, we’ve got viral transport medium being manufactured in the state right now and so forth,” says Edwards.

Edwards says the minimum testing capacity needed to enter Phase One of reopening the economy is 140-150,000 tests a month, and the state performed over 140,000 tests over the last six weeks.

“We just need a slight boost more than what we have been able to do over the last six months and get it into a month, and we have got more testing coming online every day,” says Edwards.

Less than five percent of all tests completed in Louisiana have been done in state labs, but Edwards says they’re looking to improve that number.

(Story written by Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)