June 3, 2020 | From City of New Orleans

City Joins CORE Co-Founder Ann Lee to Pledge Continued Mobile Testing for COVID-19

CORE Collage

NEW ORLEANS — Today, City officials joined Ann Lee, Co-Founder and CEO of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), to celebrate their continued partnership to bring COVID-19 mobile testing sites to under-served communities across New Orleans. CORE will continue operating a mobile unit in the coming weeks, with a focus on bringing testing directly to high-risk communities where they live.

[WATCH: CORE mobile testing news conference]

"The City of New Orleans has become a world leader in the ability to test residents for COVID-19. Increasing the percentage of residents getting tested is a key in the efforts to continue flattening that curve and achieving a key milestone in our efforts to reach Phase Two of the safe reopening of the City. Partners such as CORE are essential in our efforts to reach that milestone," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "I want to thank Ann Lee and her partner, Sean Penn, for putting equity front and center in their relief efforts. We're looking forward to keep moving this work together."

“Mayor Cantrell, Dr. Avegno and Chantell Reed have welcomed CORE to New Orleans over the past couple of weeks, and we are grateful for their collaborative partnership to bring testing to high-risk residents. Regardless of age, housing or income, every person should have access to testing. We are thankful to Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall and The Rockefeller Foundation for funding the expansion of our work in New Orleans, particularly where we focus on serving communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said CORE Co-Founder and CEO Ann Lee.

The officials marked the mobile testing efforts today at Nazareth Inn in New Orleans East. Ms. Lee was joined by Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno and Deputy Health Director Chantell Reed, who is leading the mobile testing operation across New Orleans. CORE joined in those efforts in mid-May, supporting hyper-focused testing in neighborhoods including Central City, Lafitte, Algiers, Marigny and Treme, as well as senior living, homeless shelters and congregate living facilities. CORE identifies high-risk individuals to prevent them from infection, and the mobile unit brings testing to communities where social distancing and isolation are less feasible, such as for residents in communal facilities or for those who must use public transportation to get to work. 


"As we recognize that high levels of testing are key to safely reopening New Orleans, partnering with CORE has brought access to some of the City's most vulnerable populations. We want to leave no one out so that everyone can feel protected and cared for in this crisis. Our working partnership with CORE will also extend testing to our returning hospitality workers as they are a critical part of our frontline and the soul of our great City," said Dr. Avegno.

Officials updated residents on testing progress made by the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) and CORE, which includes testing more than 12 percent of the New Orleans population. There also have been:

  • 13,809 tests performed in the drive-through testing partnership between the City, State and Federal government;
  • 6,782 tests performed by NOHD in partnership with LCMC and LSU;
  • 1,279 tests performed by CORE and NOHD, with assistance from Urban League of Louisiana staff, since May 19, 2020
  • In all, more than 21,000 tests to date performed through governmental, non-profit, and health care system partnerships

CORE has applied their model of partnering with local governance to expand COVID-19 testing in California, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan and the Navajo Nation. To date, the organization has administered more than 320,000 tests at dozens of tests sites across the nation. With a team of 500 dedicated staff and 600 volunteers, CORE is focused on expanding free COVID-19 testing to vulnerable and under-served communities, including low-income groups and communities of color, as well as first responders and essential workers.


The testing site is being operated by CORE staff members and volunteers who are part of the New Orleans community, including graduate students from Xavier and Tulane universities. The New Orleans Health Department also provides staffing.


Visit this link for testing and other COVID-19 related events.



CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and strengthening communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis. Within hours of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, founder Sean Penn mobilized a powerful network to take immediate action. More than 10 years later, CORE continues to lead sustainable programs focused on four pillars: emergency relief, disaster preparedness, environmental resiliency and community building. The organization has expanded beyond Haiti to support communities in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the United States. CORE has taken a leadership position in the COVID-19 response by providing free testing for high-risk individuals and vulnerable communities. More information:; follow CORE on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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