La. mental health patients isolated after 22 test positive for COVID-19
JACKSON, Louisiana - Doctors at Louisiana's rural mental health facility about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge said there are 22 cases of coronavirus at the state's mental health system headquarters and patients are being isolated.
The Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System is headquartered near downtown Jackson in a sprawling, rural campus.
"There are 22 confirmed cases at Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System," a state spokesperson said in response to questions from WBRZ earlier Friday.
UPDATE: Days later, the state told the Advocate, the number of cases ballooned since this original story. Click HERE for an updated report.
The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the cases at the Jackson facility after questions from the WBRZ Investigative Unit.
Patients will remain isolated until they recover, a state health department spokesperson said in an email Friday night.
"We have taken a number of precautions to protect our residents and employees," the health department said in a statement.
Employees and visitors are being screened when they arrive at the facility.
"We have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment," or PPE, hospital jargon that has become common place as health care officials reveal possible dire issues down the road as the virus issue spreads.
The health system has two divisions which provide services in "many geographical locations throughout the state," according to its website. The two divisions are: the East Division and the Forensic Division. East Division provides psychiatric services to male and female adults age 18 or older who are chronically mentally ill or require immediate or long term hospitalization. The Forensic Division provides services to adults who are remanded to the program through legal proceedings.
The 22 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 are in Jackson, Louisiana.
The situation is likely a cluster, as the state defines a cluster as two or more cases that appear to be connected.
Click HERE for the latest state-wide patient information about COVID-19.
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