COVID positivity rate drops to less than 1% in New Orleans public schools; view data

New Orleans public schools reported fewer cases and quarantines last week than at any time so far this year, according to data released Monday.

The omicron variant hit the city hard in early January, leading to a record number of cases among schoolchildren. Now the surge appears to have largely subsided just in time for Mardi Gras.

“As we head into the Mardi Gras break, we remind our families that vaccines remain the best way to protect our children from the virus,” District Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said in a statement.

The district’s vaccination mandate has been in effect since Feb. 1, though officials said last week they still don’t know how many children are being vaccinated.

The district followed 155 active cases of COVIDamong 13 staff and 142 students, and 424 quarantined last Friday, compared to 268 active cases and 525 quarantined The week before.

Omicron’s cases peaked in early January, when more than 2,200 students and staff tested positive for the virus.

Nearly 19,500 tests were performed last week under the district’s surveillance testing program with a positivity rate of less than 1%. The previous week, more than 19,400 tests had been carried out with a positivity rate of 1.5%.

The district is urging all students and staff to get tested before returning to school after the Mardi Gras break, and officials said they have made additional testing resources available to schools.

More than three-quarters of schools had already scheduled return testing for students and staff last week, district operations director Tiffany Delcour said.

Last week’s cases were spread across 39 of the district’s 76 schools. The highest number of cases were reported at Bricolage Academy and Lusher College and High School: Campus Freret with 16 cases each. DIY also reported the highest number of quarantines at 122.

The district’s next COVID update is scheduled for March 7 after the Mardi Gras break, and may also include information on the district’s student immunization rate.