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Ochsner Health Announces COVID-19 Jefferson And Orleans Parish Prevalence Study Findings

Today Ochsner Health announced key findings from a COVID-19 seroprevalence study, conducted in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes in mid-May. The study, which tested more than 2,500 Jefferson and Orleans Parish residents for COVID-19 and antibodies, provides valuable insights about the true spread of the virus in our community.

Key Findings:

  • 7.8% of Jefferson and Orleans Parish residents have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Based on a 7.8% prevalence rate, it is presumed that more than 64,000 Jefferson and Orleans Parish residents have been infected.
  • The calculated COVID-19 infection fatality rate is 1.63%, which is 10 to 40 times more deadly than the seasonal flu (fatality rate 0.04%-0.16%).
  • Infection rates were higher among black residents (10.3%) than white residents (5.9%), but fatality rates of 1.72% and 1.58%, respectively, were not significantly different.
  • 75% of infectious people were asymptomatic and ~40% of people never experience symptoms.

What the Study Tells Us:

  • Continued safety measures, including adherence to social distancing and wearing masks in public, are essential as we move forward to limit further spread.
  • The death rate is higher than the seasonal flu but lower than state deaths divided by confirmed cases would suggest.
  • Virus spread in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes does not indicate that we are near herd immunity, which would occur with an exposure rate of approximately 70%.

“Data collected in this study tells us that the actions of our state and local leaders to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the height of the outbreak in the spring were effective and necessary,” said Dr. Robert Hart, Chief Medical Officer, Ochsner Health. “The collective efforts of our leaders, businesses and neighbors have saved lives. As we learn more about this virus and now start to see an increase in community spread as we begin to reopen around the state, Ochsner remains committed to investing in testing and research to protect and care for our community.”

A total of 2,640 adults were tested, selected from a pool of over 25,000 volunteers. Study participants represented all zip codes, ages, races and ethnicities of Jefferson and Orleans Parishes to accurately reflect the region. Upon arrival at a designated test site, participants completed a questionnaire and received two tests – a nasopharyngeal swab to test for COVID-19 and a blood draw to test for antibodies.

The study was led by Principal Investigator Amy Feehan, PhD, and funded by Ochsner Health. Ochsner researchers worked with Public Democracy and ReNOLA to recruit community members for the study. Ochsner will conduct a second phase of testing this summer to continue monitoring the local spread. Community members interested in participating are encouraged to sign up at

Ochsner has completed more than 25,000 community COVID-19 tests across the state since May. Testing is open to residents, age 2+, and there are no out-of-pocket costs. For more information and a list of test locations, please visit

To learn more about Ochsner’s COVID-19 response, please visit To support Ochsner’s COVID-19 research, please visit


About Ochsner Health

Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 876,000 people from across the globe in 2019, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 26,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit To transform your health, please visit

Study Citations:

Feehan, Amy and Fort, Daniel and Garcia-Diaz, Julia and Price-Haywood, Eboni G. and Velasco, Cruz and Sapp, Eric and Pevey, Dawn and Seoane, Leonardo, Frequency of Symptoms and Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection in New Orleans, Louisiana after 7 Weeks of a Stay-at-Home Order (6/18/2020). Available at SSRN:

Feehan, Amy and Fort, Daniel and Garcia-Diaz, Julia and Price-Haywood, Eboni G. and Velasco, Cruz and Sapp, Eric and Pevey, Dawn and Seoane, Leonardo, Point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and infection fatality rate in Orleans and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, May 9-15, 2020 medRxiv 2020.06.23.20138321; doi: