NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Health has now reported 19 total cases of COVID-19 in the state, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The LDH reports 15 cases are Orleans Parish residents, one is from Caddo Parish, two from Jefferson Parish and one from Lafourche Parish. The case in Lafourche Parish had originally thought to be in Iberia Parish yesterday but was since updated by health officials.
Here are the key points you need to know:
- Louisiana is ramping up testing for the coronavirus. As of Thursday, 14 people have been diagnosed with presumptive cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
- The CDC says the best way to protect yourself from being infected is by washing your hands frequently, disinfect frequently touched surfaces and avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who are sick.
Below are live updates about the coronavirus and the local response for Wednesday, March 12, 2020:
BUKU Fest canceled due to COVID-19
The upcoming BUKU music and art festival has been canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. According to festival organizers, they plan to reschedule for Labor Day Weekend and all tickets will be honored.
Information on refunds will be issued "by the end of next week."
5 New Orleans EMTs under self-quarantine
12:51 p.m., March 12 - According to sources, five New Orleans EMTs are self-quarantining at home after transporting one of the first patients. None of them are showing any symptoms.
Councilman asks utilities to stop disconnecting service
12 p.m., March 12 - New Orleans councilmember Jason Williams asks Cox, the Sewerage and Water Board and Entergy to stop service disconnections as the city responds to the coronavirus.
"As chair of the Smart and Sustainable Cities Committee, I am asking that TeleCom companies, Cox, Sewerage and Water Board, and Entergy all halt service disconnections while we adjust to the spread of Coronavirus in Orleans Parish. These services are vital so that our children would be able to work remotely, as New Orleans public schools testified yesterday they are preparing to do if needed, and families are able to wash hands and clothes as recommended by public health officials. Together, we can fight this pandemic and bounce back as New Orleanians always do!"
All SEC sporting events cancelled until April
11:40 a.m., March 12 - Shortly after cancelling the men's basketball tournament, the Southeast Conference announces all sporting events will be cancelled until March 30.
SEC basketball tournament is cancelled
11 a.m., March 12 - The Big Ten Conference, the Southeastern Conference and the American Athletic Conference have all canceled the remainder of their Men's Basketball Tournaments.
"Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville."
Gov. Edwards meets with U.S. Surgeon General
9:45 a.m., March 12 - Governor John Bel Edwards meets with the U.S. Surgeon General and Louisiana health officials about the latest numbers and policy of COVID-19.
Go Red For Women luncheon postponed
7 a.m., March 12 - The American Heart Association announces they will postpone their 2020 Go Red for Women luncheon, an annual event in New Orleans to support heart disease research and awareness.
Officials say the event will be rescheduled for a later date.
Coronavirus: What is a presumptive positive case of COVID-19?
6:30 a.m., March 12 - As more areas across the United States report new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, the phrase "presumptive positive" has caused confusion for some readers.
According to the Center for Disease Control, a presumptive positive result is when a patient has tested positive by a local public health laboratory, but those results are still pending confirmation at a CDC lab.
See yesterday's updates here: Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: 13 cases now; Hogs for Cause latest to cancel
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.