Gov. Edwards Declares Public Health Emergency in Response to COVID-19

OFFICE of the GOVERNOR-Following a meeting of the Unified Command Group today, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a Public Health emergency in Louisiana related to COVID-19.

Commonly called coronavirus, COVID-19 has now affected 13  residents in Louisiana. The current impacted parishes include Orleans, Jefferson, Iberia, St. Tammany, Caddo and Lafourche.

“We currently have 13 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana, including 7 new cases today. We are expecting more cases in the coming days and weeks. As we learn more, we know that there is community spread in Louisiana and I am asking all Louisianans to remain vigilant and take important measures to protect their health and reduce the spread of illness,” Gov. Edwards said. “This is a constantly changing situation, and we have been working with our state and federal health officials for some time now. As we expect more presumptive positive cases, a declaration of public health emergency is necessary to allow state agencies to thoroughly prepare for any eventuality related to public health needs and deploy additional resources to assist local authorities.”

On March 9, 2020, a Louisiana resident was tested for COVID-19 and deemed to be a presumptive positive result in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) protocol, resulting in the state’s first case.

Additionally, the declaration addresses efforts to prevent price gouging should that become necessary as well as limits international travel for state employees to Level 2 and Level 3 countries as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.

Click here for the public health emergency declaration.

Advice for the public

State officials encourage Louisianans to take the following proactive steps to protect the health of themselves and those around them:
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Cover your cough.
• Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
• Avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who are sick.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found on LDH’s website: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.

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