(WAFB) - Officials are tracking the number of cases of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, across Louisiana.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statewide “stay at home” order effective until April 30 because of the threat of the novel coronavirus.
As of Monday, April 6 at 12 p.m. state health officials reported the following:
- 14,867 positive cases
- 512 deaths
The LDH COVID-19 dashboard does not include data on out-of-state residents, as that information is included in other states’ case counts.
PLEASE NOTE: The Louisiana Department of Health will update its website daily at noon.
While extremely upsetting, this increase in COVID-19 cases appears to be less a sign of new exponential growth and more a sign of a logjam from commercial labs. I am pleased to see a ramp up in testing across the state. We need this energy and commitment to continue. It’s important to understand that what’s happening in Louisiana with the increased testing is also happening around the country. That said, as more and more commercial labs come online our different data systems must learn to talk to one another.
I have said time and again – COVID-19 is a statewide problem and testing is a vital step towards understanding the scale of this problem. We believe COVID-19 is spreading in every parish in Louisiana.
The situation remains concerning, but every Louisianan has the power to change the path we are on. Think of your neighbors, and please stay at home.
Governor Edwards has held a press conference every day. You can watch the latest press conferences by CLICKING HERE.
The order does not include a curfew. Individual parishes have authority to issue curfews. CLICK HERE to see a list of those parishes.
For businesses, the new Stay at Home order has limits on the following:
- All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, and other similar businesses.
- All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and other similar businesses.
- All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines.
- Businesses closed to the public as listed in the order can conduct necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance or upkeep as necessary.
- Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in Section 3 of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size.
- Early learning centers and child care facilities adhering to the guidance issued by the Louisiana Department of Education and Office of Public Health may continue to operate.
Examples of Essential Worker Functions under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines include:
- Healthcare workers and caregivers
- Mental health and Social Service workers
- Pharmacy employees
- Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products
- Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
- Farm workers
- Electricity and Utility Industry Employees
- Critical Manufacturing Employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
- Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas Workers
- Transportation and Logistics Workers
- Communications and Information Technology Employees
- Financial Services and Banking Industry Employees
See CISA essential business guidelines here.
Members of the public will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies to pick up food, medicine and necessary supplies, go to their essential jobs and to go outside for exercise and fresh air. When leaving their home, people should practice social distancing.
LDH is offering a counseling service 24/7 for those who may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the outbreak. The service is available to help anyone trying to cope with the associated stress. Trained counselors will provide information for services related to mental health and substance abuse related to coronavirus. Call 1-866-310-7977.
Until Sunday, March 15, cases that returned a positive result were classified as presumptive positive. They remained that way until confirmed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
The CDC later noted that lab tests have proven to be reliable and CDC confirmation is no longer needed. Now, if a case is returned positive, it does not have to get a second confirmation.
Testing begins in-state, at hospitals or at private laboratories.
Patients suspected of infection are assessed by staff first. The staff then requests a state courier come pick up a sample that’s sent to a state lab in Baton Rouge for testing.
After being confirmed positive, there must be 2 negative tests before a patient is considered recovered.
Testing for a single person can take between three to four testing kits, Governor John Bel Edwards said, so having a specific number of kits doesn’t mean that number of people can be tested.
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is notified of any presumptive positive results.
Officials say they’re treating presumptive positive cases as actual positives.
State health officials are “contact tracing” those patients, meaning they’re reaching out to those who have been in close contact with those patients and requesting they be tested.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, a family of viruses known to cause a range of respiratory illnesses.
Symptoms of the coronavirus can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. The CDC believes symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms may be mild for some healthy individuals. In older adults and individuals with existing health issues, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory illnesses.
It’s spread through respiratory droplets produced through coughing and sneezing, or by touching your face, nose, or eyes after touching a surface contaminated with the virus.
The virus is not a death sentence as rumored on social media.
Recovery can happen in a matter of weeks, health officials have stressed.
"Now together we all, as government, as healthcare systems and providers, as schools, businesses and as neighbors, must take actions and be vigilant to prevent the spread of this virus in our great state," said Edwards.
Louisianans with questions are asked to call LDH’s general information line at 1-855-523-2652 or the state’s hotline at 211 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also text LACOVID to 898-211 or visit their help website by clicking here.
More information is also available on LDH’s website linked here.
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