Several members of the licensing division in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' Baton Rouge headquarters have tested positive for COVID-19, causing the agency to rotate much of its staff out of the division and warn of delays for those seeking to access its services, the agency said Tuesday.
Four people within the division received a positive test and several other staff members were in contact with those who tested positive, agency spokesman Ed Pratt wrote in an email. The positive tests are so far contained to the first-floor office within the larger headquarters, Pratt said.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we took virtually everyone out of that office — especially those that aren't vaccinated," Pratt said.
It's unclear how many people working in the licensing division have received the COVID vaccine, Pratt said.
The licensing division will remain open, but it's now staffed by agency employees who may be unfamiliar with its operations, Pratt said. This could cause delays for members of the public calling the division or coming in person, Pratt added.
"Licenses will continue to be issued and renewed, however, to help avoid delays, they can also be requested online or by visiting any one of our vendors across the state," LDWF said in a news release.
On Monday, 59 cases of COVID-19 were reported in East Baton Rouge Parish, according to data compiled by TheAdvocate.
That number marks the highest single-day total reported since June 9 as local vaccination rates lag and "variants of concern," or variants of the virus that may be more infectious, continue to be reported in the area.