The UNO Lakefront Arena testing center on Friday, March 20. (Marta Jewson/The Lens)

Beginning Sunday, two recently opened coronavirus testing sites in New Orleans will be expanded to serve any member of the public displaying symptoms, the city of New Orleans announced in a press release Saturday morning.

The testing sites are located in the Mahalia Jackson Theater parking lot at 1419 Basin St. and the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena parking lot at 6801 Franklin Ave.

New Orleans has emerged as a national hotspot for infections per capita, exceeding the rates in other cities that have reported outbreaks, including New York and Seattle, the first American city where large number of cases were reported. As of Saturday, March 21, at 9:30 a.m., the Louisiana Department of Health reported 585 positive tests for the new coronavirus. Of those, 352 were in New Orleans. At least 16 people statewide have died, including at least 12 in New Orleans. The state reports that at least 2,765 tests have been performed to date at the state lab and private labs.

The city’s two drive-through testing centers opened Friday morning as part of a partnership between the city and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Testing was initially only available to healthcare workers and first responders experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms.

Another testing site opened as part of the federal pilot program is located at the Alario Center parking lot at 2000 Segnette Blvd. in Westwego. The Alario Center site is open to anyone with symptoms as of Saturday, according to a Jefferson Parish government press release.

On Sunday, members of the public experiencing a fever and other symptoms — often a dry cough and body aches — can go to one of the sites, where their temperatures will be taken. If they have a fever, a nasal swab will be given to take the testing sample. The centers are drive-through only. Walk-ups are not allowed. Results should be available in three to five days.

Members of the public are being asked to bring an identification and insurance information, though tests will be administered to the uninsured.

The testing centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but each New Orleans site has a daily capacity of 100 tests. The Alario Center has a daily capacity of 250 tests. Once they have reached that number, they will close for the day.

Read The Lens’ coronavirus guide for information on testing, the latest news from The Lens and available community resources.

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...