The feds award Louisiana 190 million dollars to expand COVID-19 testing.

Early on in the pandemic, it could be hard to get a test even if you thought you were exposed, but Congressman Garret Graves says once this funding is applied that will no longer be the case.

“This is going to allow us to get additional test kits in Louisiana and it is going to allow us to really lower the bar, or threshold, under which people will be tested,” says Graves.

The money will also be used to establish antibody testing in the future once the FDA approves a procedure.

Governor Edwards has expressed optimism the state will move into Phase Two in June. Graves says this funding ensures we have the testing capacity to meet the federal benchmarks to do so.

“You can do the math here, this is an extraordinary amount of money per capita for our citizens. This will absolutely provide the resources necessary to do a comprehensive testing program,” says Graves.

The money came to the state through legation passed by Congress three weeks ago that also refilled the Payroll Protection Program fund.

Graves says the level of testing this funding provides is vital to returning to some sense of normalcy before a vaccine is made.

“You cannot have the aggressive reopening that we need without having the corresponding testing associated with it otherwise you could result in a relapse or a reemergence,” says Graves.

(Story written by Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)