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New Orleans Opens New, High-Capacity, Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Site

Ben Depp
National Geographic Society
A drive through COVID-19 testing location at Alario Center. New Orleans, Louisiana. April 8, 2020.

A new site for COVID-19 testing opens Wednesday in New Orleans, amid a national shortage in testing supplies and long delays in testing results.

The new site will begin as a drive-thru at the UNO Lakefront Arena. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and will be supplied with enough tests to handle every person who lines up for one, the city said.

The tests are open to anyone over the age of 5. They’re also free, and no identification or health insurance is required, though the city does recommend people pre-register for a testing slot at DoINeedACovid19Test.com.

The city expects tests to be returned within five days.

The site has been set up in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s expected to move to different sites around the region as a walk-up, drive-thru hybrid, the city said.

Test results across Louisiana and the nation have been taking days, even weeks, and supply shortages forced the city to cut back on the number of tests it could provide at its mobile testing site earlier this month. The new site comes after Dr. Deborah Brix of the White House task force singled out New Orleans as one of 11 major cities that needs to take “aggressive” measures to curb the coronavirus’s spread.

Rosemary Westwood is the public and reproductive health reporter for WWNO/WRKF. She was previously a freelance writer specializing in gender and reproductive rights, a radio producer, columnist, magazine writer and podcast host.

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