NEW ORLEANS — Read live updates for Friday, March 27 

Latest Numbers:

  • 83 deaths (+18)
  • 2,305 total cases (+510)
  • 18,029 tests completed (+6,578) 
  • 53 of 64 parishes reporting cases (+5) 
  • 676 in hospital for treatment (+185)
  • 239 in need of ventilator (76+) 

Key Updates:

  • 83 Louisianians have died from COVID-19, the deadly respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. More 2,300 people across the state have tested positive for the virus out of the more than 18,000 whose results have been processed.
  • The Senate has passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic. The vote now moves to the House, which is expected to pass it on Friday.
  • New Orleans, with 827 cases and 37 COVID-19 related deaths, is on track to become the epicenter of the new virus in the South. The metro area accounts for roughly 70% of all cases in the state.

Read yesterday's live blog

First Louisianan under 18 dies from COVID-19

Besides another significant uptick in deaths, cases and tests, the Louisiana Department of Health has reported the state's first coronavirus-related loss who was younger than 18. 

Louisiana health officials say a 17-year-old patient from Orleans Parish has died from COVID-19.

New information released by the Louisiana Department of Health only listed the teen's age and the parish where they lived. It did not identify the teen or say if they had any pre-existing medical conditions.

The teen's death is the first death reported in Louisiana under the age of 36. 

Read more 

New Orleans nears 1,000 cases 

There are 510 new cases across the state, a significant increase of almost a third of yesterday's cases, bringing the total to 2,305. The new cases come as total tests processed increased by more than 36%.  

Deaths also jumped to 83, up from 65 yesterday, with deaths in Jefferson Parish in particular rising by nearly 60% in a day -- to 12 total.  

Cases by parish (SE Louisiana): 

  • Orleans: 997 cases, 46 deaths
  • Jefferson: 458 cases, 12 deaths
  • East Baton Rouge: 105 cases, 4 deaths
  • St. John: 38 cases, 2 deaths
  • St. Charles: 22 cases, 2 deaths
  • St. Tammany: 89 cases, 1 death
  • St. James: 29 cases, 1 death
  • St. Bernard: 28 cases, 1 deaths
  • Lafourche: 28 cases, 1 deaths 
  • Washington: 6 cases, 1 death 
  • Terrebonne: 21 cases, no deaths
  • Plaquemines: 13 cases, no deaths
  • Tangipahoa: 7 cases, 0 death

676 of the state's 7,485 hospital beds (9%) are being used to treat COVID-19 patients, and 239 of those patients are in need of one of the states's 923 ventilators, or 26%. 

A day after experiencing their first death, St. Charles Parish has reported a second death. 

St. James Parish cases more than doubled in a day, from 14 to 29. One death has been reported there. 

While total cases across age groups from the 40s to 70 and older were comparable earlier this week, cases involving people in their 40s and 50s have increased at a faster rate, accounting for 929 or 40% of the Louisiana caseload.

New Orleans is close to its 1,000th COVID-19 case, at 997. Gov. John Bel Edwards has warned the New Orleans area hospital system could be overwhelmed by the first week of April. 

More than half of the state's 83 deaths, 49, have been patients who were 70 years old and older. 

Drew Brees pledges $5M to Louisiana for coronavirus fight

Saints quarterback and future hall-of-famer Drew Brees has committed a staggering $5 million to the state of Louisiana in the fight against the new coronavirus. 

Brees says the money will go toward providing more than 10,000 meals every day to Louisianians in need, "...for as long as it takes."

"Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time," Brees wrote. 

Read more

New Orleans TSA agent tests positive for COVID-19

A TSA agent working to screen travelers at the New Orleans Airport has tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced Thursday. 

The unidentified employee is one of the Transportation Security Administration's screening officers at Armstrong International. Their last day was March 19 at the main security checkpoint. 

TSA officials say travelers and employees who think they might have been in contact with the agent should contact their health care provider.

It's the first known case of the new, potentially deadly respiratory disease at New Orleans' international airport.  

Read more 

Senate passes $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue plan

If passed, the "CARES Act" would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per individual adults and $2,400 for married couples and an additional $500 for each eligible child. 

The full amount will be available for individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 annually. The amount a person receives will phase out if they earn more, ending for those earning more than $99,000 annually. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Trump wants to send the payments to people in less than two weeks, by April 6. But experts agree that could be a hard deadline to hit. 

Read more 

CDC sending infectious disease expert to Lambeth House in New Orleans

The CDC is sending an infectious disease expert to Lambeth House, a senior living community in New Orleans where 42 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 11 of those have died.

“After alerting the Trump Administration about the severity of cases at the Lambeth House in New Orleans, I am glad we were able to get the CDC to send an expert in Infection Prevention and Control to the center to assist with their Coronavirus cases,” Rep. Steve Scalise said.

The virus first presented itself within the facility's independent living section, separate from the assisted living and hospice care portion, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Read more 

City’s street homeless being moved into hotel

City and state officials worked to finalize plans Wednesday to move homeless people off the streets and fill a 155-room hotel in the Central Business District.

The general manager of that hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn-New Orleans French Quarter Downtown on Gravier Street, confirmed the plan was to start moving people in groups of 35 from encampments and house and feed them for the next 30 days, using a mixture of federal, state, local and philanthropic funds.

The hotel is prepared to serve the guests three meals a day, clean their rooms daily and provide laundry service under the deal. He said the National Guard would deliver equipment and other supplies and police would help with security in every floor and at all exits to make sure the homeless guests remain isolated the whole time.

Read more 

Schools moving away from daily meal packages 

Both New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish school systems, which have fed thousands of students and families while schools are out because of the pandemic, have changed their approach to their programs. 

New Orleans will now offer meals for the weekdays (5) on Mondays and Wednesdays only. Breakfast and Lunch meals for two days will be given at the start of the week and meals for three days will be given on Wednesdays. 

St. Tammany Parish feeding program, which was temporarily suspended four days after launching, is back and running and will now offer weekly packages on top of daily breakfast and lunch. 

St. Tammany Parish is now working with local businesses to run the program, using their employees and facilities to prepare meals. 

Read more 

Tools

MORE: Drive-thru COVID-19 testing: What you need to know before you go

MORE: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

MORE: COVID-19 Timeline: See how fast things have changed in Louisiana

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.

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