NEW ORLEANS — As Louisiana ramps up coronavirus testing, one unique New Orleans-based company is bringing the tests to your front door.
Ready Responders, headquartered in the Lower Garden District and now growing all over the country, has been making all kinds of urgent care house calls for years.
But now, they're preparing to test for COVID-19 in patients who fall under CDC guidelines and have symptoms.
In an interview through Facetime, founder and CEO Justin Dangel said the concept just makes sense.
"If you're not feeling well, why would you want to leave and go somewhere, when the care can come to you?" he said.
Paramedics, dressed head to toe in protective gear, can now administer the test in a patient's home and then allow the patient to video chat with a nurse practitioner or doctor.
"We send out an EMT or a paramedic into the home," said paramedic John Dunbar. "They're basically the hands, eyes and ears of the physician or the nurse practitioner."
Tests are limited at this time, with more being delivered in the near future.
Although COVID-19 tests are a new capability for Ready Responders, representatives say the EMTs have all the personal protective equipment and training to keep themselves safe.
"Right now, COVID is so community spread that the screening really just consists of the symptoms now, according to the CDC. So we're taking as many precautions as we can for all of our responders, to keep us both from getting it and also spreading it to other patients," said Dunbar.
Ready Responders said it will see any patient regardless of insurance and there's no out of pocket cost for COVID-19 testing.
Ready Responders is using a commercial lab to test patient swabs and believes they should have results back from 2 to 5 days.
The goal is to keep the contagious virus out of emergency rooms, Dangel said.
"They don't have to leave and risk infection. They don't have to leave, and if they are symptomatic, risk infecting other people. And it takes a tremendous amount of pressure off our hospitals and EDs if they call us instead of going in," Dangel said.
You can call Ready Responders at 504-370-9966 or learn more on their website, https://lp.readyresponders.com/