May 7, 2020

Jason Rogers Williams, Helena Moreno

Councilmembers Moreno and Williams Encourage Participation in Ochsner Antibody Study with Launch of Demonstration Video

Seal of the City of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS - Today, Councilmembers Helena Moreno and Jason Williams strongly encouraged residents of New Orleans to sign up at to participate in a COVID-19 prevalence study led by Ochsner Health. This free study will be essential for guiding our community through the pandemic by helping officials identify hot spots; giving public health authorities insight into allocating resources and giving our friends and families more information about how to keep our neighborhoods healthy and safe. 

The free testing involves a nasal swab and a simple blood draw that will determine the presence of antibodies in a participant's blood, therefore indicating whether or not that person is either currently, or had been previously, infected by the novel coronavirus.

"This study is an essential part of our path forward, and we need as many participants as possible to get closer to the truth about the virus' spread in our community. We need as many people to sign up as possible so that researchers can ensure there is an adequate sample representative of the demographics of our region. Jason and I made a video walking everyone through the testing process to show just how easy and fast it is, and so that everyone understands the full details of what antibody testing is and isn't. While this may give an indication if someone has been infected with COVID-19, doctors warn that this does not provide for an immunity passport to go back to life as normal. Precautions should still be taken since it is not 100 percent known on whether a re-infection can occur," said Councilmember Helena Moreno.

"The first phase of our testing was focused on determining who has COVID-19. Now we pivot to the next phase, aimed at determining who had it. Antibody testing is a simple blood test to look for signs that someone has been exposed to the virus and already developed antibodies to fight it. If we can establish that antibodies will protect us against future infections, as we hope is the case, antibody testing will help determine how close we are to reaching 'herd immunity' to protect those who haven't yet contracted the virus. As a final perk, those who are antibody positive may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, which can potentially help patients still suffering from COVID-19 by allowing them to 'borrow' antibodies to accelerate recovery time," said Councilmember Williams.
Watch the full video here
The testing study is in partnership with Ochsner Health. Subjects must be age 18 or older and have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, reside in Orleans or Jefferson Parish and may get tested even if they have not experienced symptoms. You do not need insurance to participate and testing is free to participants. Testing is slated to begin May 9th. If selected, you will receive a text message about testing locations and times. 
Learn more and sign up at or call or call 504-703-8283 for more details.
Media Contact:
Andrew Tuozzolo
Office of Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno