Preparations in place ahead of potential coronavirus cases in EBR
BATON ROUGE - No cases of COIVD-19 have been reported in East Baton Rouge Parish so far, but parish leaders say they want to stay proactive instead of reactive.
At a press conference held by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome on Friday, one doctor said that some people in the parish have been isolated and tested for coronavirus, but none of those patients’ tests have come back positive.
Even if a case does pop up in EBR, local health officials say all preparations have been put in place.
The mayor announced three more precautions that she’s implementing as a result of more cases of coronavirus are being reported in Louisiana.
Mayor Broome said that she has signed an executive order, in conjunction with the Public Service Commission, to make sure water is not shut off in the parish.
The other executive order bans city-parish employees from traveling until further notice. The mayor said that her office is also setting up a system for employees to work remotely if needed.
"We have canceled large events and continue to encourage limited social interaction because contact is the biggest factor in the spread of this disease,” Broome said.
Local hospital leaders have been working in conjunction with the Mayor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for the past week. They are urging people who are sick, or who think they have coronavirus symptoms, to first call a doctor or healthcare facility before they show up.
"In reality, if you get tested for coronavirus and it's positive, it doesn't change the treatment, it's the same treatment for a virus or the flu,” Dr. Mike Rolfsen with the Baton Rouge Clinic said.
Doctors are also urging people with already scheduled appointments, surgeries or other medical procedures to stick with their appointments.
"People have diabetes, people have asthma, people have heart disease. And these diseases, if left unchecked, can precipitate acute illness that are very severe and require hospitalization,” Dr. Louis Minsky with Baton Rouge General said.
Area hospitals have also implemented more stringent visitor restrictions per the Louisiana Department of Health guidelines.
Ultimately, officials say all these precautions are set in place to ease the burden on hospitals, doctors and healthcare workers. City leaders want to make sure they can treat everyone they need to without overwhelming the parish’s healthcare system.
This evening, Mayor Broome activated EBR’s “All Hazards Recovery Task Force” in response to COVID-19. That task force was formed after the 2016 flood to create a parish-wide recovery plan after a disaster.
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