Coronavirus: What to Know and How to Prepare

COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, has been in the news a lot lately. As of right now, there have yet to be any confirmed cases of the virus in Louisiana.

However, it is important to be prepared.

The Louisiana Department of Health has been communicating regularly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to proactively share information with Louisiana healthcare providers and hospitals regarding the symptoms of coronavirus, guidance around when to test someone for the virus, and what to do when someone needs to be tested. The Office of Public Health’s State Laboratory has the capability to test for the coronavirus and Governor John Bel Edwards has stated, “we will be transparent with the public if we have a confirmed case in Louisiana, which we currently do not.”

The Department of Health has been working closely with various state agencies to ensure effective coordination and communication across all departments about this illness. In addition, a COVID-19 Task Force has been created to lead Louisiana’s planning efforts around different scenarios related to the possible spread of coronavirus. It will offer guidance to state agencies, local governments, businesses and organizations.

What can you do to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like coronavirus and the flu?

  • Cover your cough, wash your hands often and well, and stay home when you’re sick.
  • Contact your health provider if you’ve traveled to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy or Japan within the previous 14 days, AND you experience fever, cough or another kind of illness. Tell them your symptoms and about your recent travel.
  • It is still flu season, and your chances of getting the flu are higher than of getting coronavirus. Get a flu shot or take a flu antiviral (if prescribed).

For more information on coronavirus and for updates on what the state is doing, visit the Louisiana Department of Health website. The page includes FAQs for individuals who are pregnant, have children, or have questions about breastfeeding. The website also includes steps childcare programs and schools can take to prepare for coronavirus.

March 4, 2020