NEW ORLEANS — As of Saturday evening, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports 69 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S.
Of those 69 cases, 22 people were diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., and 47 tested positive elsewhere but came back to America, including visitors who were in Wuhan, China and people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
The virus spreads easily through person to person contact, the CDC said. It's transmitted through respiratory droplets — when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It can also spread from contact with surfaces or objects where those droplets may have landed.
Symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to the flu's, including coughing, shortness of breath and fever. People infected with the coronavirus would show symptoms 2 to 14 days after they've been exposed, the CDC said.
Health officials have advised anyone who's traveled to an area with widespread coronavirus cases to isolate themselves for 14 days.
After thousands of people came to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, is the city at risk?
Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Joanne Maffei with LSU Health Sciences Center said Mardi Gras is primarily an outside celebration.
"There was Mardi Gras this week that just passed," Maffei said. "The good news about that is it's an outdoor activity. That helps disperse germs."
As of Saturday night, there were no cases of coronavirus in Louisiana, but there are practices people can apply to stay safe.
People wanting to avoid the virus should wash their hands for more than 20 seconds each time, avoid contact with sick people and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, according to the CDC.
"I don't know if we need to all wear masks in public places at this point," Maffei said. "Time will tell if that's a necessary thing or if public gatherings will have to be closed or not. It just depends on how widespread it is."
As conditions continue to change, healthcare officials advise the public to stay up to date with coronavirus news.
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