NEW ORLEANS— Though the city’s drive thru testing sites shut down for the holiday weekend, the Omicron variant took no such break. Last week, the city’s health director gave us fair warning of the variant’s level of contagion.
Dr. Jennifer Avegno stated, “If you go to an event and there’s 30 people and one person has Omicron, everybody has Omicron. It’s just that contagious”
The state reported over 12,000 new cases from the weekend and 20% came back positive. So, everyone we spoke with today wanted to know their status.
Paulette Preston said, “We had to put one of my sisters to rest and we had a big second line and a lot of them didn’t have masks on. So, one of my biggest concerns is not having COVID or having it and doing something about it.”
Free walk-up testing was available at several sites around town today. Christopher Butcher was on hand to find out where he stood, “You gotta know. The more you know the better decisions you can make.”
Amanda McCarthy just got back from a holiday vacation in Puerto Rico, where cases have exploded. The thing is, Amanda lives with her elderly grandma and wants to make sure she’s safe.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m experiencing some mild congestion, so I just wanted to be diligent and make sure I’m not going around spreading anything,” said McCarthy.
Travel was at the heart of many folks in line like Jonathan Green, “I’m gonna be traveling soon so I just wanted to make sure I bring back a negative test before I get on a plane or anything.”
Dr. Avegno also told WGNO that the predominant strain of the virus in New Orleans is now Omicron and that we’ve already experienced the Delta surge.
The city’s drive-thru testing sites at the Mahalia Jackson Theater and the Lakefront Arena reopen Tuesday.