Update: Drive-through testing for the coronavirus has expanded across the New Orleans area to include all residents.
Anyone 18 years of age or older who has symptoms can now drive to the city’s two testing sites, or to a third site at the Alario Center on the Westbank, operated by the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Department.
People must still arrive by car. The tests remain limited to 100 per day per site. The sites were originally open only to health care facility workers and emergency responders.
Other drive-through testing sites have opened across the state, including in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport.
Drive-through testing for coronavirus is launching across the state and in New Orleans.
City officials announced the opening of two sites on Friday morning. Both will only test health care facility workers and first responders who have symptoms of COVID-19. The sites could later be expanded to test the general public.
“They are on the frontlines of this and we have to know if they’re sick, and we have to keep them, to the best of our ability, on the frontlines,” said Collin Arnold, the director of New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
He added the sites will “inform” how the city could run future potential testing sites for the general public.
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Both sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
In order to be tested, people need to arrive in their vehicles and provide proof of their identification, their health insurance information, and a health care facility or first responder badge.
However, the city said people will be tested regardless of whether they have insurance. And Arnold said people would not be charged for the test.
“This is a pilot program. It’s very fluid,” said Arnold. He said the city had received enough supplies from the federal government to feel they were ready to launch the sites today, but added, “It’s very dynamic.”
“What we’re doing here today and through this process, however long it goes, is working towards informing the federal government and local jurisdictions on how this is going to work in the future. It’s unprecedented,” he said.
The city is hoping to test 100 people per day, per site, or 200 people per day in New Orleans. Each site has 2400 tests. “We’re going to run these tests until they run out,” Arnold said.
Tests results are expected to take three to five days. Everyone who comes to the site will be given information about what to do in the event of a positive test, including the likely need to self-quarantine.
The sites are being jointly run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the City of New Orleans, with the assistance of the Louisiana National Guard, which has 100 soldiers stationed at New Orleans’ two sites and one in Jefferson Parish, with other soldiers spread across the state.
Here’s the latest on testing sites across the state.
West Jefferson Medical Center. Screening for COVID-19 is being performed from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. People are asked to call a hotline first to be screened by a nurse. The number is (504) 962-6202. People are required to arrive by car, and bring identification and their health insurance information.
Baton Rouge General's Mid-City campus. A drive-through site opened on Monday, March 16, but subsequently ran out of testing materials. The site is intended to be open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is only testing those who have contacted their primary care doctors first and obtained a signed order to be tested for COVID-19.
St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. The campus of the former St. Elizabeth Hospital is testing anyone who has a doctor’s order for a COVID-19 test. Testing is “primarily limited to physicians who are affiliated with the Our Lady of the Lake hospital network in Baton Rouge and other parts of southeast Louisiana,” according to news reports.