SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – More than 800 people were tested for COVID-19 Wednesday at the newly re-opened large-scale testing and vaccination site at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.

LSU Health Shreveport’s Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) moved and expanded testing and vaccination operations to the fairgrounds from the old Chevyland location on Linwood Avenue in hopes of shortening wait times. It’s a return to a familiar site. LSU Health Shreveport operated a large-scale testing and vaccination site at the fairgrounds from January through April 2021, shutting it down as cases began to ease.

But with the latest surge in cases driven by the omicron variant, wait times at the remaining Linwood Avenue location had increased to about two hours on average over the past several days. Car lines were wrapping around several city blocks. In light of that surge and a shortage of rapid tests, LSUHSC is looking to process more PCR tests daily and keep people from turning to the region’s quick cares and emergency rooms to find out if they’re infected with the coronavirus.

“We have more space, we’ve got more lanes that we can bring cars through, and so we can move crowds through more quickly,” said Dr. John Vanchiere, LSU Health Shreveport’s director of community testing and vaccination.

With three tents and six lanes, Vanchiere hopes to double daily traffic at the drive-through site at the fairgrounds to 1,500 to 2,000. Two of the tents are dedicated solely to testing. Vanchiere says a lot of those showing up are already vaccinated, but not necessarily boosted.

“Talking with folks along the line, many of them are vaccinated, but they haven’t gotten the booster yet. And we know that that booster, that third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, is what is most protective against this omicron variant.”

More than 150 people were vaccinated at the fairgrounds site Wednesday.

Dr. Vanchiere says the fairgrounds site will remain open for as long as it takes to respond to the community’s needs, which could be at least several weeks.

To learn about vaccination sites near you, call Louisiana’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774. For a list of locations near you, visit or text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish.

To find a COVID-19 test site near you, call 211 or visit

If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.

Download the KTAL News app 📲