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Where to find COVID tests during Mardi Gras 2022: Muses throws, New Orleans airport, more

A coronavirus testing kit.
Ben Depp
National Geographic Society
A coronavirus testing kit.

When revelers go to the Krewe of Muses' Thursday parade, they may catch beads, plush toy ducks or, if they're lucky, a coveted, bedazzled shoe. But when Muses rolls for the first time since before the pandemic, parade-goers may also snag a very COVID-era throw: a take-home rapid test.

Fat Tuesday is just one week away, and while the omicron wave is waning, New Orleans is still reporting an average of 60 new COVID cases a day. Health officials reported 54 new COVID cases and 3 additional deaths on Tuesday. The Louisiana Department of Health also said seven patients were hospitalized in Region 1, which includes Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, as of Feb. 22.

In response, city officials are ramping up testing efforts in creative ways.

In addition to city health department employees handing out test kits during Muses, first-aid stations along parade routes will have masks, hand sanitizer and a limited supply of take-home tests. Whether you’ve slipped on beads or are looking for a mask to wear in big crowds, all parade-goers are welcome to stop by.

For Uptown parades, those sites are located at:

  • St. Charles and Napoleon avenues
  • St. Charles and Washington avenues
  • St. Charles Avenue and Felicity Street
  • St. Charles Avenue at Égalité Circle
  • St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street

And for Endymion, on Saturday, those stations will be set up at North Carrollton Avenue at Bienville Street and North Broad at Canal streets.

First-aid sites — as well as public bathroom locations, lost kid stations, and more — can be found on the city’s parade-tracker website, Routewise.

There will also be a COVID testing site at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport during peak travel for Mardi Gras, from Feb. 23-26, and on Feb. 28 and March 2, said city spokesperson Beau Tidwell at a Tuesday press conference. That’s in addition to an existing COVID-19 vaccination site at the airport.

More testing and vaccination sites across the metro area can be found here.

The current city guidelines require residents and visitors to wear masks in all indoor spaces outside the home. Individuals ages 5 and up must show proof of full vaccination, or a negative test within the last 72 hours, in order to access bars, restaurants, indoor entertainment and indoor Carnival balls.

Carly Berlin is the New Orleans Reporter for WWNO and WRKF. She focuses on housing, transportation, and city government. Previously, she was the Gulf Coast Correspondent for Southerly, where her work focused on disaster recovery across south Louisiana during two record-breaking hurricane seasons. Much of that reporting centered on the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in Lake Charles, and was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center.

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