Louisiana uses three state parks to house homeless COVID-19 patients
As Louisiana officials brace for increasing numbers of virus-infected residents, they've been taking measures to create temporary housing for patients with unique needs.
The Advocate reports that Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego has been evacuated and is hosting ten homeless/housing-vulnerable individuals who tested positive for the virus.
On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed the situation, saying, "These are coronavirus positive individuals who could not go home, either because they have no home to go to or because they have high-risk individuals, elderly or people with underlying conditions at their home."
The park has 15 cabins that are surrounded by swamp and marshland.
Those who test negative will be released while those who test positive will remain on site until medical personnel analyzes their case and releases them.
150 National Guard troops will staff the Bayou Segnette isolation area and the Louisiana Department of Health will provide medical support at the site.
“We need to make sure we have the capacity to take care of individuals who may test positive for coronavirus but they’re not so sick that they need to be hospitalized. But they may be homeless," Edwards said last week. "We’re just identifying areas where we could put those individuals so that their needs could be met in the safest possible manner. And that’s what we’re looking at there.”
A contractor will provide food, janitorial services and laundry at the site.
As of Tuesday, 20 of the 98 camper sites were also cleared for housing to be set up by the state, Soileau Heitman said.
Chicot State Park, near Ville Platte, and Lake Bistineau State Park, near Doyline, will similarly be used to host people who do not require hospitalization, but need to isolate and cannot go home or who are homeless.
"Right now we don't have individuals outside of the New Orleans metropolitan area who fit this category," Edwards said Wednesday. "But you're going to see us stand up these sites, these regional sites around the state, in the next couple of days, anticipating we will have need for them."
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