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New Orleans community COVID-19 testing site runs out of spots in 5 minutes

The site at Dillard was set up to take 150 people and the spots were all handed out within five minutes.

NEW ORLEANS — It's getting a bit tougher to get a COVID-19 test these days. 

The city of New Orleans has been setting up community sites with the idea that they are convenient to resident's homes and can be accessed with a walk or short drive.

Monday's test site was at Dillard University and there were 150 test spots but there were 100 people in line before it opened at 8 a.m. and all of the spots were given out within five minutes.

New Orleans Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said the city has seen the shortage coming since last week. 

Avegno said that unlike the testing shortage a couple of months ago, this one is not a shortage of materials to give tests, but more a shortage of materials needed to process them once taken.

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"The issue appears to be a national one," said Avegno. She said anyone who went to Dillard Monday and was turned away was given information about other places they could go for testing, but she said those sites are also having some issues with capacity.

Avegno said that in addition to raw material shortages to make the supplies, many of the supplies come from overseas and there are supply chain issues.

"We have no idea how long this will last," she said. 

Avegno said that the national standard of testing 4 to 5 percent of a city's population per month would have New Orleans doing 500 tests per day. She said the city is close to 800 tests per day right now and she wants to be able to keep it at that level.

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