NEW ORLEANS — UPDATE: Friday March 19 - 5:30 PM

Latest Coronavirus Numbers: 

  • 14 deaths in state  
  • 537 confirmed cases
  • 1,931 people tested - 1084 from state labs, 847 from commercial

Key Updates:

  • 14 Louisianians and one Mississippian have died from the new coronavirus in the state. Nearly half of the state's parishes have reported coronavirus cases. 
  • Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana's healthcare system could be overwhelmed in as early as seven days by COVID-19 cases. He's asked President Donald Trump for help from the federal government. 
  • A fifth death has been reported out of the Lambeth House retirement community in New Orleans, where the state's only known "virus cluster" is impacting elderly residents and employees there.
  • In most instances, testing around the state and country has been reserved only for people already exhibiting extensive COVID-19 symptoms who have also already tested negative for the flu.  

14th death reported

The 14th death in Louisiana from coronavirus has been reported in Orleans Parish, state officials said Friday at the same time as New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was laying out a mandate ordering city residents to stay at home. 

See where in the state cases have been confirmed here:

RELATED: Track COVID-19: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Map

New Orleans put under 'Stay Home' Mandate

New Orleans was put under a "stay home" mandate Friday, requiring residents to stay home when not out for what city officials described as essential services. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the new escalation in the city's fight against the coronavirus outbreak at a press conference, where she emphasized the importance of avoiding contact with other people. 

"We need everyone to comply," she said. "Dont look for ways for the rules to not apply to you." 

Critical businesses such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities and banks were expected to stay open, she said. 

Read more here:

RELATED: New Orleans under 'Stay Home' mandate, residents should only leave for essential services

13th Louisiana death reported in Orleans Parish

State health officials confirmed Friday that a 13th Louisiana resident has died from the coronavirus. 

The 72-year-old Orleans Parish resident had an underlying health condition, the Louisiana Department of Health said in a statement. 

This is the 10th death in Orleans Parish. 

Report: Tulane administrator positive for coronavirus

Tulane University's newspaper reports that a school administrator has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Tulane Hullabaloo report said university president Mike Fitts sent an email Friday which said the administrator is isolating at home and is expected to make a full recovery.

Fitts reported added that more cases of coronavirus are likely in the Tulane community and the university is reaching out to anyone who was in close contact with the administrator. 

2 more deaths reported from Jefferson and Catahoula parishes

Two more people have died from the coronavirus, the Louisiana Department of Health said Friday. 

A 38-year-old Catahoula Parish resident and a 77-year-old Jefferson Parish resident were killed, officials said in a statement. Both had underlying medical conditions. 

They are the 11th and 12th Louisiana residents to die after contracting the Covid-19 virus. A 13th person died in St. Tammany Parish, but that person was a resident of Mississippi.  

This is the first death reported from Catahoula Parish. 

Officials warn of fake government relief check scam 

The Better Business Bureau reminds people to beware of scammers trying to take advantage of the government's plans to send out pandemic relief checks to Americans. 

See below from the BBB: 

"If you receive a message or see a social media post claiming to be from the government, and that you qualify for a special COVID-19 grant, BEWARE!

That link may send you to what seems to be an official government website, and will ask you to enter your personal information and/or banking details.

Some reports we’re seeing, are scammers claiming that they will be able to deposit $1,000 or more directly into your bank account. THIS IS A SCAM!"

NASA’s Michoud, Stennis centers close after employee tests positive

 NASA has closed its Michoud facility in New Orleans East and the Stennis Space Center indefinitely, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

NASA is also temporarily suspending production of its Space Launch System and Orion hardware.

The positive case involves an employee at the Stennis Center.

NASA says there are no cases at the Michoud facility, but they're closing it down as well, as a precaution. Employees will work from home until further notice.

Read more 

Jefferson Parish to start drive-thru coronavirus testing for first responders, healthcare workers

Jefferson Parish will start drive-thru testing for first responders and medical employees with coronavirus symptoms Saturday. 

Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said the testing station would open at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Alario Center in Westwego. The first tests will be open to first responders such as EMTs and police officers, and employees working at healthcare facilities. 

To be tested, those who meet the criteria must be showing symptoms similar to those reported in coronavirus patients. Healthcare workers and first responders will need employee identification to be tested. 

Read more 

Relief fund set up for New Orleans gig workers 

The New Orleans Business Alliance has made a relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income.

To see what you need to apply for the fund, click here

Cases continue to rise in Louisiana 

As of Friday morning, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 479 residents, mostly in New Orleans, had tested positive for COVID-19. It was a jump of almost a hundred cases from Thursday night. 

Orleans Parish has 299 confirmed cases, with Jefferson Parish at 90 and St. Tammany Parish at 10. St. Bernard, Lafourche, St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes all have five cases; St. John Parish has four. 

The cases span across 25 parishes, down one from Thursday night's information, as details on patients' residence versus where they're being treated gets updated by the state. 

People in their 40s remain the most infected group in the state, with 104 confirmed cases, but barely. The elderly group, ages 70 and over, has 103 cases and continues to climb. 

Six people older than 70 have died from the virus, five of whom were residents of the Lambeth House retirement community in New Orleans.

A 44-year-old from New Orleans passed away from COVID-19 Thursday.

55% of Louisiana's coronavirus cases are women. See more parish-by-parish breakdown from the LDH here

Evictions made illegal in Orleans Parish during coronavirus response

Evictions are on hold in New Orleans as the economic fallout of COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the city.

All city courts are shut down now, and the city has ordered a ban on evictions.

That comes as the number of people seeking unemployment help from the state has more than tripled.

But for renters without a paycheck right now, there is some good news: evictions are not happening right now.

“Not legally,”  said Marjorianna Willman, who heads up the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

Read more 

LaPharmacy offers free prescription delivery 

LaPharmacy is offering free medication home delivery to residents in the Greater New Orleans Area, including Jefferson Parish, Kenner, and the West Bank.

The pharmacy is offering free delivery of prescription and over-the-counter medications orders of over $35 as well as curbside service at its store at 839 S. Clearview Parkway in Jefferson. LaPharmacy accepts all major insurances. LaPharmacy delivery staff are following safety and sanitization protocols help prevent the spread of the virus.

People can place their orders for delivery or curbside pickup by call LaPharmacy at (504) 581-8876. Learn more at mylapharmacy.com

Drive-through testing stations open for first responders, healthcare workers 

Drive-through COVID-19 testing is now open in New Orleans. 

Two site opened Friday, March 20. One is in the Mahalia Jackson Theater and one in the parking lot of the UNO Lakefront Arena, according to a statement from the City of New Orleans.

Drive-through testing is only available to people who meet specific criteria. These are the first drive-through stations for testing in the state and some of the first in the country. 

At first, the tests will only be done on healthcare workers and first responders who are showing symptoms of the virus. Testing criteria may be expanded from there over time.

Read more 

St. Tammany has first coronavirus death, coroner says

A 63-year-old Mississippi resident being treated for COVID-19 in St. Tammany Parish has died, the parish coroner says. 

According to St. Tammany Coroner Dr. Charles Preston, Howard Pickens, a Waveland, MS resident, died of respiratory failure Thursday after being hospitalized for the new coronavirus at Ochsner Northshore in Slidell on March 13. 

Pickens had an underlying medical condition that made him more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, Preston said. He's the first person to pass away from the virus in St. Tammany Parish.

Read more

Louisiana on pace for "worst case scenario" in a week, governor says 

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday that Louisiana is on pace to meet a "worst-case scenario" in which coronavirus cases outpace the state's healthcare capacity as early as next week.

"Our trajectory is basically the same as what they had in Italy," Edwards said at a Thursday news conference following a phone call with President Donald Trump and other governors.

During that call, Edwards told Trump that forecast models had predicted that cases of COVID-19 could outpace the healthcare capacity in the New Orleans - Jefferson Parish area in seven to ten days without additional support from the federal government.

Read more 

More resources 

Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

School meal locations, parish by parish, during coronavirus break

LIST: Stores designate shopping times for seniors, vulnerable during COVID-19 outbreak

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.

► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.

‎Stay up-to-date with the latest news and weather in the New Orleans area on the all-new free WWL TV app. Our app features the latest breaking news that impacts you and your family, interactive weather and radar, and live video from our newscasts and local events. LOCAL & BREAKING NEWS * Receive r...