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Nederland leaders eye contractor for COVID-19 testing

NEDERLAND — City Manager Chris Duque was blunt in his assessment of the coronavirus impact in Nederland when speaking this week to city council members.

“We did end (last) week on a bad note,” he said. “The numbers did not go down.”

The city confirmed 10 new positive test results last Friday, 11 new positive cases Monday, 10 on Tuesday, three on Wednesday and zero on Thursday to bring the total to 205.

The city is also reporting more than 90 active cases.

Mayor Don Albanese asked if there was a concentration of cases in any part of the city.

Duque said he is not privy to that information, for confidentiality’s sake, adding only first responders and dispatch officers know the addresses of confirmed cases.

Police Chief Gary Porter said, “We don’t have any evidence of clustered spots.”

According to Duque, the state is demobilizing the National Guard mobile testing team and trying to move to a private contractor.

“A lot of people were depending on that mobile testing team, and that is no longer available,” Duque said.

In response, Nederland Fire Chief Terry Morton is talking with private entities about setting testing up in Nederland.

“That is not going to be a one-day test,” Duque said. “That is going to be one week.” Utilization of the Nederland recreation center could be possible for testing.

City officials are also in the process of revamping their COVID-19 return-to-work policy noting federal heath experts recently reduced the minimum time for quarantine after receiving a positive test from 14 to 10 days.