Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome addressed the public Tuesday morning to discuss how Louisiana health officials are preparing for the state's first potential case of the coronavirus.
"I want to reassure the public that currently there has not been a documented case of coronavirus in our state," Broome said. "We do expect cases here in Louisiana sooner or later."
Broome says she's asked the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to coordinate with the recently formed Louisiana Coronavirus Task Force, local medical personnel, public safety officials and other stakeholders to follow developments related to coronavirus.
She also emphasized the efforts emergency teams are taking to prepare the community for potential cases.
"East Baton Rouge Parish has a lot of experience with emergency situations," Broome added. "We are more prepared to work closely with our local medical providers and state health officials. Our area hospitals have been actively working on pandemic preparedness plans for 15 years."
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Broome was joined by Dr. Steven Gremillion, Chief Medical Officer at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, who detailed additional steps local doctors and other medical personnel are taking in preparation for the coronavirus.
"The CDC still says the risk of infection is low, though it is likely there will be an infection in Louisiana at some point in time," Dr. Gremillion said. "Just like our city, our hospitals are very well-prepared for this."
He says area hospitals have the necessary supplies and staff trained to handle potential infections.
The CDC and healthcare providers recommend every day healthy habits to help prevent the risk or spread of respiratory viruses, by avoiding close contact with people who are sick. When sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick and seek medical care immediately. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands to help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
Dr. Gremillion also suggests anyone who has traveled overseas in recent months to be tested for coronavirus.
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"Please take this very seriously," Mayor Broome said. "Stay up to date and follow the recommendations of your local state and federal officials."
For more health information on the coronavirus, visit the CDC's website here.