There are now 103 diagnosed cases of Covid-19 in the state of Louisiana, with 75 in New Orleans alone, one of the hottest spots in the nation. There are 14 in Jefferson Parish as well.
Gov. John Bel Edwards reported on Sunday that a second death from Covid-19 had been reported in Louisiana.
The number of cases in Louisiana has nearly tripled since Friday, and that number is expected to continue growing as more people are tested.
Two patients diagnosed with the coronavirus have passed away. Both were being treated at Touro Hospital and both were from New Orleans. One was 58-years-old and another was 53. Both were said by the state to have had underlying conditions.
Nationally, more than 50 people have been killed by the virus.
Coronavirus spreading rapidly
City officials acknowledged Sunday that New Orleans has a rate of spread for coronavirus much higher than other cities in the country.
"We do anticipate [the number of cases] increasing every single day and even, as we see, within hours," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "We’re not talking about days here."
Louisiana has one of the highest rates of positive coronavirus cases per capita in the nation. It is unclear where New Orleans ranks compared to other major cities, but 65 of the state's 91 confirmed cases has come from Orleans Parish, likely putting it near the top of the nation per capita.
Businesses will stay open
City officials said businesses in New Orleans would remain open for the time being, but restrictions will be placed on the amount of customers allowed in at one time.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell did not provide specifics during a press conference Sunday, but said many businesses have already changed procedures in the face of coronavirus spreading.
Drive-thru testing to open soon
City officials announced Sunday that they had partnered with the federal government to open drive-thru testing areas by mid-week.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said details were still being worked out and that no locations were set yet.
New Orleans is one of four cities to be selected for the pilot program.
Hospitals stop visitors
Louisiana hospitals have stopped allowing all "non-essential" visitors after an order from the state's department of health.
The indefinite ban is being enacted to limit the potential coronavirus contact for patients at the hospitals.
Certain people, like a single support person for a woman in labor, will still be allowed.
Second death reported
A second person died in Orleans Parish from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The 53-year-old patient was being treated at Touro Infirmary Hospital and Medical Center.
Like the first patient who died, the victim reported Sunday had an underlying health condition that made them more susceptible to complications from the virus.
Cantrell issues statement on coronavirus death
Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement shortly after the death was confirmed, saying the patient who died was a friend.
“The news this morning of a second death in Orleans Parish is deeply heartbreaking to me, personally — and is additional tragic news for the people of our City,” said Cantrell. “The patient in this instance was a friend of mine, but every one of those impacted by this outbreak is someone’s friend, someone’s father, someone’s loved one. Our people are being hurt by this, and we all have a role to play in trying to keep them safe. Keep these victims and their families in your prayers, and in their name, for their sake: fight the spread. Stay home, don’t gather in large groups, and listen to our public health authorities.”
What you need to know about COVID-19:
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.
Worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including severe pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or death.
Older people and people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or cancer seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.
People with recent travel to China, or have come in contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have a greater risk for becoming ill.
What to do if you are sick:
If you recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 transmission, and you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor immediately. Do not go to the doctor without calling first.
If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652.
If you are severely ill and you think you need to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room.
How to Prevent the Spread:
The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) and through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Especially wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Stay home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of germs.
- Cover your cough with your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.
Treatments for COVID-19:
There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. People with coronavirus should be treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
Some severe cases require going to the hospital, particularly in the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.