As of Sunday, March 29, at 12 p.m., the Louisiana Department of Health reported 3,540 positive tests for the new coronavirus. Of those, 1,350 were in New Orleans. At least 151 people statewide have died, including at least 73 in New Orleans. Of confirmed cases, 1,127 people are in hospitals, and 380 of those people are on ventilators. The state reports that at least 27,871 tests have been performed to date at the state lab and private labs. The Louisiana Department of Health’s coronavirus page includes a map showing where infections are being reported. It is updated daily.

Latest News

See The Lens’ full coverage. The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate’s coronavirus coverage is available here. Listen to WWNO’s livestream. Latest news from Gambit is here. Follow breaking updates with live video at WWL-TV, WDSU, Fox 8 and WGNO.

Statewide restrictions in place (Updated Sunday, March 22)

  • Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m. Essential businesses — including grocery stores, pharmacies and health care, among others — will continue to operate. People are allowed to be outside, including to exercise, but are being told not to gather in groups of more than 10 people and to keep a safe distance from one another.
  • All public schools are closed.
  • Bars and many other businesses, such as movie theaters, casinos, bowling alleys, gyms, entertainment and amusement venues and barber shops are closed.
  • Businesses that are not considered essential but have not been closed are ordered to limit onsite operations to essential employees, with a cap of 10.
  • Restaurant dine-in service has been suspended. Restaurants can still offer takeout and delivery.
  • All non-essential dental procedures are prohibited until April 16.

Read Gov. John Bel Edwards’ full emergency proclamation.

Additional restrictions in New Orleans (Updated Sunday, March 22)

  • Mayor LaToya Cantrell is urging residents only to leave the house for essential activities. Guidelines on “essential activities” are available on the city’s website. Going outside, including for exercise, is allowed. But the city is asking residents and visitors to keep a safe distance from each other. The recommended distance is six feet.
  • The city has a non-exhaustive list of essential businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants (takeout and delivery only), pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores, banks, childcare centers, healthcare services, media outlets and a number of others.
  • All public and private gatherings should be cancelled. This does not apply to essential facilities like hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores and banks.
  • Libraries are closed to the public.
  • Access to City Hall is limited. Visitors will have their temperatures taken at entry.

More details available at NOLA Ready.

Virus testing

On Friday, March 20, two drive-through testing sites were opened in the city of New Orleans as part of a federal pilot project to expand testing in areas with large numbers of infections. They are located at the Mahalia Jackson Theater Parking Lot (1419 Basin St.) and the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena Parking Lot. (6801 Franklin Ave.) For now, testing at the New Orleans centers is only available to healthcare workers and first responders who have cold or flu-like symptoms. When they arrive at a site (in vehicles only), they will be asked to provide identification, a healthcare facility employee or first responder badge and insurance information. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria will receive a test even if they do not have insurance.

On Sunday, March 22, the testing centers in New Orleans opened to any member of the public who is displaying symptoms. They remain drive-through only. Members of the public are asked to bring an ID and insurance information, though the uninsured will be tested, according to a city press release. Upon arrival, they will be checked for a fever. If they have a fever, workers in protective gear will take a nasal swab sample for testing. Results should be available in three to five days. The sites are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but each has a daily capacity of 100 tests. They will close for the day once they reach that number.

More details available at NOLA Ready.

A third site, also participating in the pilot, has opened at the Alario Center parking lot at 2000 Segnette Blvd in Westwego. According to a parish press release, the site began testing any member displaying symptoms on Saturday, March 21. The Alario Center site is also open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until it reaches its daily capacity of 250 tests.

More details from Jefferson Parish government.

New Orleans East Hospital has opened a drive-through testing center. The center is only accepting people who are displaying symptoms, such as fever, cough or body aches. If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, call their hotline at 504-962-6202 to talk to nursing staff, who will determine if you need to be tested for the virus.

More details available at the New Orleans East Hospital website.

West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero has opened a drive-through testing center. The center is only accepting people who are displaying symptoms, such as fever, cough or body aches. If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, call their hotline at 504-962-6202 to talk to nursing staff, who will determine if you need to be tested for the virus. The testing center is open 7 days per week from noon to 8 p.m.

More details available at the West Jefferson Medical Center website.

Resources and basic needs

  • On March 13, the First and Second City Courts in New Orleans suspended residential evictions through April 24. On March 18, Gov. Edwards said all evictions and foreclosures have been suspended. Report illegal evictions by calling 311. Landlord-tenant legal assistance is available from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. Visit their website or call (504) 529-1000. The Fair Housing Action Center is also taking housing discrimination complaints by phone at (504) 596-2100 or (877) 445-2100.
  • If you are a healthcare worker in need of personal protective equipment or other supplies, call the state supply hotline at 225-325-5900, seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information from the Louisiana Department of Health.
  • The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, Entergy, Cox and most major internet and wireless service providers have suspended service shutoffs. Some are offering temporary free service, including Cox and AT&T.
  • The United Way of Southeast Louisiana is offering grants of up to $500 to restaurant, bar or hotel employees whose individual incomes are at or below $30,000 per year or those with children whose household incomes are at or below $61,000 per year.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank locations can be found by dialing 211.
  • The NOLA Public Schools district has a map of pickup locations for breakfast, lunch and after-school meals for local students who are out of school.
  • SAMHSA distress helpline: 1-800-985-5990. Details on other mental health services at NOLA Ready.
  • Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) 24-hour hotline: 1-855-435-STAR.
  • Virtual Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
  • Catholic Charities can assist with completing SNAP applications/re-certifications, Medicaid applications and help with benefit enrollment checkups. Call Mary Smith: Office (504) 861-6360, cell (504) 605-9248 or Doug Kariker: Office (504) 310-6909, cell (504) 260-6443.
  • Attorneys for the Orleans Parish Public Defenders office are now working remotely. The physical office has been closed. If you need to contact your public defender, you can leave a message at (504) 821-8101. If you have immediate legal needs and need to speak with a lawyer right away, they have set up a hotline at (702) 670-1193 that will be answered by an attorney every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Louisiana Department of Education is opening its Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to critical personnel. Families can apply for subsidized childcare assistance for children 12 and under.

New Orleans’ One Stop Shop public portal is open

From the Mayor’s Office: Certain types of permits and licenses may once again be applied for on the One Stop App public portal. Link here: http://onestopapp.nola.gov.

These include building permits, sign permits, trade permits (including electrical and mechanical permits), and some permits related to streets and sidewalks.These permits, as well as other permit and license types, may still be applied for by email at the following addresses:

Payments for all permit and license types remain online through the One Stop App. If you have questions about filing applications or making payments online, check http://nola.gov/onestop/help-with-the-one-stop-app/. Any additional questions can also be sent to the listed email addresses or you can call One Stop at (504) 658-7125.

More resources from state govt.

The National Emergency Library

From The Internet Archive: “During this unprecedented time in history, access to printed books is becoming difficult or impossible. COVID-19 is forcing students, educators, and everyday readers to rely on digital books more than ever before. That’s why the Internet Archive has temporarily suspended all waitlists, allowing you to immediately check out any of the 1.4 million books currently in our lending library. Until June 30th or the end of the US national emergency (whichever comes later), every borrowable book will be immediately accessible by anyone—creating, in effect, a National Emergency Library.”

How to help

We will be updating this page and posting additional resources. Email suggestions to cmaldonado@thelensnola.org with the subject line “Coronavirus guide.”

Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado is the editor of The Lens. He previously worked as The Lens' government accountability reporter, covering local politics and criminal justice. Prior to joining The Lens, he worked for...