Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: 103 cases statewide, closed schools serving food

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NEW ORLEANS — There are now 103 diagnosed cases of Covid-19 in the state of Louisiana, with 75 in New Orleans alone, one of the hottest spots in the nation. There are 14 in Jefferson Parish as well. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards reported on Sunday that a second death from COVID-19 had been reported in Louisiana.

The number of cases in Louisiana has nearly tripled since Friday, and that number is expected to continue growing as more people are tested.

Two patients diagnosed with the coronavirus have passed away. Both were being treated at Touro Hospital and both were from New Orleans. One was 58-years-old and another was 53. Both were said by the state to have had underlying conditions.

Nationally, more than 50 people have been killed by the virus.

Latest restrictions from the City of New Orleans to combat COVID-19 spread

COVID-19 is spreading faster in New Orleans than other cities across the country according to New Orleans Health Director Dr. Avegno. 

“The trend that we are seeing cannot be ignored,” she said. 

Now, there are new guidelines for New Orleans bars and restaurants as part of a city-wide response to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Full-service restaurants will reduce seating by up to 50 percent to help the practice social distancing. They will close their doors at 9 p.m., but restaurants can still offer delivery afterward. 

Fast food restaurants can only offer drive-thru service but can stay open 24 hours a day. Bars and nightclubs will close at midnight with a 50 person limit.

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See school in New Orleans serving food to students during closures

New Orleans Public Schools, charter schools and local agencies are working together to help feed school students during the prolonged school closure because of coronavirus concerns.

The efforts have resulted in a city-wide child nutrition program starting March 23, but some school locations will become Community Feeding Locations open to anyone younger than 18 beginning Monday.

Here is a list of schools that will be Community Feeding Centers beginning Monday, including their addresses and hours of operation.

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Louisiana Workforce Commission announces pandemic plan

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has announced its plan to assist workers who are left unemployed or unpaid due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Department of Labor, you may be eligible if your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to Coronavirus, or if your workplace closes or instructs employees not to go to work, while not paying employees.

Workers may be eligible for up to $247 per week in unemployment assistance.

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New Orleans libraries to close indefinitely

All branches of the New Orleans Public Library system will close indefinitely starting Monday, according to an email sent to library staff. 

Public library employees received an email Sunday saying New Orleans public libraries will be temporarily closed beginning Monday. Library employees who are scheduled to work Monday were asked to report to work as normal, but were told the libraries will be closed to the public.

Some library employees expressed concern about the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, if libraries were kept open, especially without specific training and disinfecting supplies in place.

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New CDC coronavirus guidelines: Cancel events with 50 or more people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday announced new large events and mass gathering guidelines surrounding the coronavirus, COVID-19.

The federal agency said it recommends for the next eight weeks organizers should cancel or postpone in-person events that involve 50 people or more throughout the United States. That includes conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, etc.

However, the new guidelines do not include schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. The advisory also doesn’t supersede direction from state and local officials.

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Streetcars, buses and ferries to operate on reduced schedule starting Tuesday

New Orleans’ public transportation network of ferries, buses and streetcars will be limited starting Tuesday, city officials said. 

The Regional Transit Authority will begin service reductions starting March 17, officials said in a statement. The changes are being made to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the disease contracted from the coronavirus. 

Officials are asking residents to avoid using public transportation unless they are traveling for essential work such as healthcare and nutrition services.  

All buses and streetcars will operate on a reduced Saturday schedule from Monday through Friday after March 17.

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Family mourns 1st coronavirus death in Louisiana

As the resident of a facility serving people with developmental disabilities, 58-year-old Ives Green had limited contact with the outside world, and he did not know why he had been feeling unwell, according to his family, the Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate reported.

But Green’s condition deteriorated so much recently that medical staff at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans received the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s permission to give him a test for the new coronavirus, which only a few people in Louisiana have been getting.

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What you need to know about COVID-19: 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including severe pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or death. 

Older people and people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or cancer seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

People with recent travel to China, or have come in contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have a greater risk for becoming ill.

What to do if you are sick:

If you recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 transmission, and you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor immediately. Do not go to the doctor without calling first.

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652. 

If you are severely ill and you think you need to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room.

How to Prevent the Spread:

The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) and through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Especially wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.

Treatments for COVID-19:

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. People with coronavirus should be treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Some severe cases require going to the hospital, particularly in the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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RELATED: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

RELATED: LIST: New Orleans-area cancelled and postponed events

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