Researchers from Tulane University have developed a 15-minute COVID-19 test that is read by a smartphone to address the need to expand testing capacity in community-based settings. This test uses the same CRISPR-based approach that the researchers have submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. Rapid PCR tests typically use nasal swab samples and are performed in laboratory settings by highly trained individuals using sophisticated equipment. The saliva-based COVID-19 test, which doesn’t require lab processing, could rapidly expand testing capacity in outpatient clinics, community testing sites and other locations. The assay developed by researchers at Tulane detects SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA in saliva to diagnose COVID-19 and is more sensitive than PCR-based tests, the current gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis.
This is the second Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other New Orleans businesses considered essential, the Urban Roots Garden Center did not have to close down during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was considered to provide essential services because they sell edibles and fruiting plants. Also, like other businesses in Uptown Messenger’s “Silver Linings” series, this one does not rely on the tourist trade or out-of-town visitors. At the beginning of the pandemic, Urban Roots offered a new service: curbside pick-up.
When The Delachaise first opened at 3442 St. Charles Ave. 17 years ago, it had a patch of grass out front where owner Evan Hayes hoped to build an outdoor space. Then 10 years ago, Entergy tore up that section of the avenue to install a new gas line, and Hayes used the opportunity to pave the area and create a patio. “That doubled our business,” he said.
This is the first Silver Lining, an Uptown Messenger series on locally owned small businesses that are thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maple Small Animal Clinic has a different pandemic story to tell from many of our local businesses. For one thing, it does not depend on the tourist trade. And veterinary clinics are considered an essential business, so it never had to shut down. The clinic changed its protocol to curbside drop-off and pickup, but it stayed fully staffed and did not need to limit its services.
The Krewe of Bacchus had announced plans to hold its super-parade, before Mayor LaToya Cantrell called off the 2021 parade season. The superkrewe has not given up. It’s just, like many events this year, going virtual. Clark Brennan, captain of Bacchus, announced Monday that Bacchus will have a virtual parade in 2021 using the new “Throw Me Something Bacchus!” mobile app.
As Nathan Lott, the Preservation Resource Center’s policy and research director and advocacy coordinator, put it: Magazine Street — with its architecture, its history and its flock of local business — is a microcosm of New Orleans, one that has acutely felt the city’s economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic. The time from Christmas to Mardi Gras is usually a boon for these businesses. The upcoming holiday season is seen as crucial to whether or not many of Magazine Street’s businesses survive. On Thursday, the PRC hosted an online panel of five Magazine Street merchants to discuss the future of the beloved corridor. The panel consisted of Dirty Coast owner Blake Haney, Perlis Clothing owner David Perlis, West London Boutique owner Mariah Walton Bencik, Guy Williams of Gulf Coast Bank, and Susan Brooks, the new owner of Club Ms. Mae’s.
The annual St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade, held in the Garden District on the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the past decade, has been postponed due to concerns about the spreading COVID-19 virus. This year the walking parade and celebration would have been on Sunday, Nov. 22. In past years, the hat-wearing participants meet in the pocket park at St.
People are getting desperate. Led by an increase in homicides and aggravated assaults, the crime wave sweeping across New Orleans and America can be blamed in large part on COVID-19 and the economic turmoil it has caused. A recent Council on Criminal Justice analysis of homicide rates in 27 U.S. cities found that the sheer number of crimes increased sharply during the summer months. Overall domestic violence and carjackings are also skyrocketing together with drug and gang violence.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s almost singular focus on reducing the virus in Orleans Parish has successfully limited hospitalizations and deaths, especially as the virus’ latest wave is wreaking havoc nationally. We applaud her for those efforts. Yet its accompanying financial devastation is driving up crime in New Orleans as desperate individuals resort to reckless acts to put a few dollars in their pockets.
Along with a very real concern about how to pay the bills during New Orleans’ stalled economic recovery are factors such as an increase in gun sales, mental health issues such as depression, boredom and a lack of interaction with others.
New Orleans is a poor city where the Police Department has perpetually been understaffed and underpaid by regional and national standards.
On Monday (Oct. 26), the city will host a free flu-shot event at the Audubon Zoo, serving the dual purpose of providing flu shots to residents during flu season and helping public health and safety officials test plans for large-scale vaccine administration in anticipation of a future FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps and the NOLA Ready Volunteer Corps are recruiting volunteers to assist in this and future vaccine administration events. Volunteers will be assigned various medical and non-medical duties:
Medical providers are needed to give flu shots. Non-medical volunteers are needed to support vaccination site operations, including patient registration, measuring throughput and flow, supply restocking, and logistics support.
Long gone are the days when the Louisiana Legislature is willing or even able to solve New Orleans’ financial problems, especially in the years of ever-tightening budgets and Republican dominance of the upper and lower chambers. Though we appreciate you asking state leaders for an extra share of available federal dollars, surely you knew in advance it was a futile attempt.
Every city and town in Louisiana is hurting, especially those that have been hit once or even twice by storms this season. Legislators are elected to bring home the bacon. How could they explain to constituents that additional funding for New Orleans should be their priority?
The very people that can save New Orleans from even greater economic disaster are the citizens of New Orleans – the business owners small and large who are desperate for customers; the Saints fans who want to watch the games from inside the Superdome; the music lovers who want to dance at Tips, the Maple Leaf or on Frenchmen Street; the foodies who want to linger inside their favorite bistros or savor chef Meg Bickford’s new Sunday brunch at Commander’s Palace.
The ongoing regional and national media coverage detailing New Orleans still-strict COVID-19 restrictions has scared away many potential visitors. It has put a damper on conventions returning, on national developers’ willingness to invest in our city, and on the ability of too many citizens to eat, pay the rent and keep their utilities on.
We’re proud of your role in ensuring that Louisiana is one of the few states that has handled COVID-19 effectively and that cases are not exploding in our city.