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COVID-19 FAQs
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The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Office of Public Health Bureau of CommunityPreparedness (OPH BCP) is partnering with Louisiana 211 and the Louisiana Association of United Ways to ensure citizens can access the most current information available for COVID-19.  As members of the Governor’s COVID-19 Taskforce, LDH, OPH BCP and Louisiana 211 work in coordination with all state efforts for COVID-19.

Louisiana citizens can dial 211, 24/7 to reach a live 211 specialist to discuss available help and information for COVID-19. Citizens can also text the keyword “LACOVID” to 898-211 to have instant access to the most current information available in our state.

 

 COVID-19 FAQs for Louisiana

As of October 22, 2021 at 10:40am

ABOUT COVID-19

Q: What is coronavirus or COVID-19?

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a contagious virus that makes people sick.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. 

According to the CDC, people with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

This list does not include all possible symptoms and the CDC continues to update this list as it learns more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes may be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people.

Q: How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

This list does not include all possible symptoms and the CDC continues to update this list as it learns more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes may be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Q: What is the incubation period for COVID-19?

The incubation period for COVID-19 is about 5 days. The range is between 4 and 7 days, although it is sometimes quicker and it sometimes may take up to 14 days.

Q: Is COVID-19 fatal?

Yes, it can be fatal. In the U.S., more than 600,000 people have died from COVID-19 and worldwide, there have been more than 4 million deaths. Still, the majority of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 do recover.

The risk of death is highest for people who are 85 years and older. In fact, according to the CDC, compared with 18- to 29-year-olds, the rate of death is four times higher in 30- to 39-year-olds, and 600 times higher in those who are 85 years and older.

 HURRICANE IDA

Q: What if an individual is COVID positive and is seeking shelter?

People who are COVD positive can go to general shelters and will be isolated and required to wear a mask while at the shelter.  

COVID-19 STATE AND CDC MITIGATION AND GUIDANCE   

Q: What is the current state guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19? (as of 8/2/21)

The information below is the most up-to-date guidance for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Louisiana. The updated guidance addresses a recent and sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations associated with the delta variant. The guidance is for all residents regardless of vaccination status. This updated guidance includes:

The following guidance from LDH and the CDC has not yet changed:

As has always been the case, local leaders may implement mitigation measures that are more comprehensive and restrictive than the current state guidelines, should they feel this is best for their communities.

STATEWIDE MASK MANDATE (effective as of 8/4/21)

Face masks that properly cover the wearer’s mouth and nose should be worn indoors at all times, unless a person is in a home, under the Governor’s statewide mask mandate, which will be in place until at least October 27th.

The order requires face coverings for everyone age 5 or older or enrolled in kindergarten, except for the following:

Face coverings are highly encouraged for those ages 2 to 4 as tolerated.

As with the Governor’s previous mandate, children younger than kindergarten age are exempted if they cannot wear a mask. However, the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourage indoor mask wearing in public for all children aged two and older, especially as they are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine.

GUIDANCE FOR LARGE GATHERINGS (as of 8/2/21)

Monday August 2, the Louisiana Department of Health issued guidance about large event gatherings during the fourth surge of COVID-19 in Louisiana, including ways to lower risk for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

LDH recommends:

Q: How serious is the Delta variant?

The Delta variant is the most transmissible variant yet. It’s faster, fitter, and it’s now the dominant COVID strain in the country and Louisiana. If you’re unvaccinated, you are the most vulnerable to this dangerous strain.

The overwhelming number of cases and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals. According to the CDC, over 97 percent of people who are entering the hospital right now are unvaccinated. If you’re vaccinated, you have very good (but not absolute) protection against hospitalization and death.

Q: If I am vaccinated, do I need to worry about the Delta variant?

If you’re vaccinated, you have very good (but not absolute) protection against  hospitalization and death. The COVID vaccines offer protection against the Delta variant, but vaccinated residents can still pass the virus to vulnerable groups and those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country.

Q: Are vaccinated and unvaccinated people both able to spread COVID-19? What are the recommendations?

Yes. Studies show the Delta Covid-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected. Per CDC and LDH guidance, people are urged to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible and always wear masks indoors public places in areas of high transmission like Louisiana (indoor mask mandate effective 8/4/21)

Experts say that vaccination makes it less likely that you'll catch Covid-19 in the first place, but for those who do, including asymptomatic infection, this data suggests that vaccinated people can also spread the virus. In addition to offering another layer of protection against breakthrough cases in higher transmission places like Louisiana, we want to make sure unvaccinated people don’t unknowingly spread the disease.

Q: What should I do to protect myself and my family from the Delta Variant?

With the Delta variant, Louisiana’s insufficient vaccination rate, the summer season, and school about to start, we are in the perfect storm. To minimize death and suffering in this fourth surge LDH continues to recommend that all people get one of the vaccines they are eligible for (Pfizer 12+years of age, Moderna/J&J 18+years of age)  and has issued new guidance, including an indoor mask mandate:

As of 8/4/21, all people 5 years of age and older – vaccinated and unvaccinated – must wear face masks while indoors. This includes all academic institutions (K-12, universities, etc.)

All businesses should review their operations to accommodate employees in a way that reduces unnecessary contact to avoid the spread of COVID in the workplace. This includes going back to remote work if necessary.

All people should take a COVID test immediately after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.

Generally, LDH shares these reminders for individuals and families who are trying to stay as safe as possible during the COVID-10 pandemic:

  1. If you can do an activity outdoors instead of indoors, do it outdoors
  2. Follow good hygiene practices (wash your hands vigorously and frequently, and don’t touch your face)
  3. Stay away from crowded settings
  4. Work virtually if possible
  5. If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested immediately
  6. If you’re in an at-risk group, be extra careful
  7. Everyone who is sick or who has COVID symptoms should stay home

Q: Where can I get vaccinated?

The vaccine is available at over 1,400 providers across the state. These providers include national and independent pharmacies, public health providers, clinics and physician offices, hospitals and others. For vaccine information or to schedule an appointment with a local provider, call 855-453-0774 or go online at:https://www.vaccines.gov/

Q: How common is a COVID-19 infection for people who are fully vaccinated?

Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. To reduce their risk of infection with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others: CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:

Q: Where can I go to get tested?

Test sites are set up throughout the state at the local level. People wishing to be tested can find a testing site on the Department of Health’s website at: http://ldh.la.gov/COVID-19Testing. This site is updated often, whenever new sites are opened.

Q: What should I do while I wait for my test results? Can I go out in public and/or return to work?

The Department of Health strongly urges all people to self-quarantine while awaiting a test result. Testing does not replace quarantining. Individuals with a negative test who are vaccinated with no symptoms do not need to quarantine further. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated, you should self-quarantine at your home and away from others, including your family if possible, for

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: If exposed to COVID-19, what is the current recommended number of days for quarantine?

At this time CDC advises that fully vaccinated individuals, unless they have symptoms, do not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19, only unvaccinated, and LDH is not yet altering this guidance.

As of December 7, 2020, The Louisiana Department of Health adopted CDC’s guidelines to shorten the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, or as few as 7 days with a negative test.

A quarantine period of 14 days is still preferred, but there are options to shorten quarantine based on local circumstances and resources.

Q: How do I count the days of quarantine from the last day of exposure to COVID-19?

Quarantine should start as soon as an unvaccinated person knows they have been exposed (unless they had COVID with a positive test in the last 90 days) or as soon as a vaccinated person has symptoms. When counting the quarantine days, the last day they were exposed is day 0, the first day following the last day of exposure is day 1 and quarantine continues through day 14.

As of December 7, 2020, The Louisiana Department of Health adopted CDC’s updated shortening of the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days if no symptoms have been reported with daily monitoring during the quarantine, or as few as 7 days if the person remains asymptomatic and tests negative on day 5 of quarantine or later. LDH maintains that a quarantine of 14 days is still preferred.

 

Q: What is the risk if I or my family members decide to shorten our quarantine period from 14 days to 7 or 10 days? Is there anything more I/we should do?

Shorter quarantine periods do come with a risk that a person may be infectious when he or she leaves quarantine, and should be carefully evaluated when weighing options. LDH recommends the following for those deciding to shorten their quarantine periods:

Q: Why did the CDC decide to change their quarantine guidelines to shorten the quarantine period?

The CDC is allowing a reduction in the length of quarantine to increase compliance with quarantine guidelines and reduce some economic, personal and physical burdens on people.

Quarantine is intended to reduce the risk of an infected person unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. It also ensures that people who become symptomatic during quarantine can rapidly be evaluated and treated.

However, a 14-day quarantine can impose personal burdens that may affect physical and mental health as well as cause economic hardship that may reduce compliance. And, the prospect of quarantine may keep people from naming contacts and may dissuade contacts from responding to contact tracer outreach if they perceive the length of quarantine as burdensome.

Q: What are the quarantine guidelines for large groups of people living together (congregate settings) like nursing homes and correctional facilities?

Louisiana Department of Health is currently recommending the full 14-day quarantine period for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated) of nursing homes and modified quarantine (see below) for correctional facilities. This is because even a small post- quarantine transmission risk could result in substantial secondary clusters in settings where there is a high risk for transmission.

Modified quarantine for correctional facilities includes:

Q: Does a person/student still need to quarantine if they have taken an antibody test that confirms the presence of antibodies to COVID-19?

Positive antibody test results can’t be used to exclude someone from quarantine since we’re unable to say how far in the past they could have been infected. Schools should only accept viral tests for proof of infection in the last 90 days.

Q: Does a person/student still need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated?

No. CDC advises that fully vaccinated individuals who do not have any symptoms do not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19. However:

o   If symptomatic, at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, symptoms are improving, and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication.

o   If asymptomatic but with a positive test, 10 days from the time the test sample was collected.

Q: Are more children in Louisiana getting sick with COVID-19 because of the Delta variant?

Doctors’ offices and hospitals throughout Louisiana are seeing an increase in the number of children getting sick from COVID-19. Some experts attribute this to both the Delta variant and because children under age 12 are not eligible for vaccinations.

According to the CDC, children are less susceptible than adults to severe disease or death from the coronavirus, with only around .01% of cases turning fatal. However, although they are less susceptible to severe disease, roughly 500 children across the U.S. have died of COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Q: Will children under age 12 be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination?

According to the FDA, emergency authorization for Covid-19 vaccines in children under 12 could come in early to midwinter. Until the vaccine is authorized for this age group, the best protection is for all eligible family members is to get the shot as soon as possible. This will have an impact on reducing the spread of the disease to children. State guidance also strongly encourages everyone – vaccinated and unvaccinated – to wear a mask in public indoor settings.

Q: Should I be concerned about sending my kids back to in-person school this fall? What does the state recommend to parents?

The Louisiana Department of Health is working closely with the Department of Education for recommendations to ensure children can return to school safely. Ultimately, all decisions about guidance and requirements for returning safely to school will be made by local school districts and independent schools.

Q: The school my children will attend is currently deciding if they will follow the state mandate that requires all children age five and above to wear a mask. If a school decides not to follow the mandate, what agency has authority to intervene?

This authority rests with the Louisiana Department of Education. All complaints about schools, public or private or parochial can be emailed to: LDOECOVID19Support@la.gov        

Q: At our school, we have some children with autism spectrum disorder, ASD, who will have difficulty wearing a mask while other children with ASD will not have an issue. Does the mask mandate require us to treat all of the students with ASD the same?

Of course not. The Governor’s mandate provides for exemptions for medical conditions, and ASD would fall under this exemption in appropriate cases. When this situation occurs, other mitigation strategies such as washing hands and physical distancing to the greatest extent possible are critically important to have in place.

Q: I want to file a complaint about a business with sick employees working and/or is not following the COVID-19 mask mandate?

 Q: Where can I get the most up-to-date information pertaining to COVID-19?

TESTING for COVID-19

Q: How much does it cost to get a COVID-19 test?

There is no charge for COVID tests done by the State or done by the Louisiana National Guard. You can search for a COVID test location here: COVID-19 Testing Sites

Testing is also free at all federally qualified health centers (community clinics). You can search for a clinic near you at: www.lpca.net/main/for-patients/find-a-health-center. Just enter your zip code in the search tool to find a nearby clinic. You should contact the clinic first to get information about their testing procedures and requirements.

In Louisiana, no commercial insurance company can charge a patient an out of pocket fee for COVID testing. Medicaid and Medicare cover all of the costs of COVID testing. The federal government has made provisions for uninsured patients to receive free COVID testing.

Many private providers such as urgent care clinics charge for a COVID test. You should contact the testing site before you arrive to understand if there is a cost, how much and if you should bring other information.

Q: When should I be tested for the virus?

As of July 23, 2021, LDH recommends that all people - vaccinated and unvaccinated - take a COVID test immediately after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.

If you have mild symptoms and are worried that you might have COVID-19, call your doctor or local health department instead of going to a clinic or doctor's office without an appointment, to ensure you aren't potentially exposing others to the virus.

If you have severe breathing problems, seek medical attention or call 911 immediately and let the person you speak with know that you have respiratory problems and need to be isolated and seen right away.

LDH is publishing a daily list of testing sites here 

Q: Where can I go to get tested?

Test sites are set up throughout the state at the local level. People wishing to be tested can find a testing site on the Department of Health’s website at: http://ldh.la.gov/COVID-19Testing. This site is updated often, whenever new sites are opened.

The website has a mapping feature to help users find the nearest testing site. Just enter your zip code in the search tool (found left of the top of the map). Information includes hours of operation, address, phone number and other requirements.

Each testing facility has their own criteria for testing. Many sites require a medical provider to submit a written referral to the testing site, while others do not have such a requirement. It is important that you contact the test site location or your healthcare provider for instructions before traveling to the test site.

All testing is being done by clinical providers, clinics and in hospitals. If you believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should contact your primary care physician for guidance.

Q: How are nasal COVID-19 tests conducted? How accurate are they?

At most testing sites, samples are taken from the nasal cavity using a swab from the inside of your nose. It usually takes from 3-5 days to get the results of these tests from the lab.

When getting tested, the person conducting the test will insert a long stick/swap up your nose and twirl it around to collect secretions on the swab. You may be asked to do the nose swab yourself. The swab must be inserted pretty far back in the nose to get the sample.

No medical test is 100% accurate for many reasons, including error and timing of the test. Because it is possible to get a negative result even when you have coronavirus, it is important to be careful even when you receive a negative result.

If you receive a negative result after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 it is recommended that you retest again between five and seven days post-exposure. If you develop symptoms after a negative test you should test again and isolate immediately.

 Q: How long does it take to get test results?

Currently, most commercial labs that process the tests are able to report results back to the patient in one to three days. The Department of Health does not get any test results, and we recommend that patients who get tested ask staff at the testing site when to expect results, and where to call to get those results. We recommend everyone, when they are getting tested, to ask for a phone number to call or website/app to use if they haven’t received their results within the timeframe that was given.

Q: What should I do while I wait for my test results? Can I go out in public and/or return to work?

The Department of Health strongly urges all people to self-quarantine while awaiting a test result. Testing does not replace quarantining. Individuals with a negative test who are vaccinated with no symptoms do not need to quarantine further. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated, you should self-quarantine at your home and away from others, including your family if possible, for

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: What if I’m homeless and I tested positive or I cannot return to my current residence after testing positive and I’m facing homelessness? Where can I go for housing/shelter during self-isolation?

The state has a site for people who are homeless and test positive for COVID-19 and do not need assistance with activities for daily living such as eating, bathing, walking, etc.

A person seeking admission must provide name, date of birth, phone number, current medication (if taking any) and any medical diagnosis, the pick-up location and COVID test date.

The phone number for accessing this process is 877-766-2130. When calling this line, the person is entered in the contact tracing system; they will then be referred to a Resource Coordinator regarding isolation sites. A person seeking admission must provide name, date of birth, phone number, current medication (if taking any) and any medical diagnosis, the pick-up location and COVID test date.

Free transportation is arranged to the site. Housing at the site is in RVs. Free laundry services and 3 meals a day are provided. The site has on-site medical personnel. Upon discharge case management will work with you to obtain temporary housing such as in a hotel or until other housing arrangements can be made.

Q: I am interested in hosting a mobile test site at my office/facility/clinic/location. What do I need to do?

The Louisiana Office of Public Health, the Louisiana National Guard and local governments have been working together to set up mobile test sites. The goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for residents to get a test. For information about the need for, and to offer to host a site in your region, contact your OPH Regional Medical Director at: http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/13

Q: Are nursing homes required to report if a staff member or resident has COVID?

Yes, nursing facilities are not only required to routinely test their residents and staff, they must also report the test results to LDH.

Q: How long after exposure should I get tested?

As of July 23, 2021, LDH recommends that all people - vaccinated and unvaccinated - take a COVID test immediately after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: What if I don’t have a doctor or have insurance?

If you do not have a doctor or if you do not have insurance, contact your nearest community health clinic.

You can search for a clinic near you at: www.lpca.net/main/for-patients/find-a-health-center. Please use the search tool to find a clinic near you using your zip code.

If you are looking for information about testing, LDH is publishing a daily list of testing sites here 

Q: Should I go to the ER?  Or, when should I go to the ER?

You should go to the ER if you are seriously ill (difficulty breathing, confusion, dehydrated). If you are sick with typical cold or flu symptoms, call your primary care doctor.

Q: Do immigrants have access to testing regardless of identification?

The testing criteria for COVID-19 do not require showing official government identification. Everyone, including documented and undocumented immigrants, who is experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should contact their primary care physician for guidance to see if they fit the clinical criteria for testing.

Q: I did not test positive for COVID-19 but I am interested in taking an antibody test to confirm if I have developed an immunity. Is this possible?

Check with your healthcare provider. If you can find a provider doing the antibody test, then yes, it might be possible to get such a test.

Details: CDC has developed a laboratory blood test to assist with efforts to determine how much of the U.S. population has been infected with COVID-19. However, antibody test results should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose someone with an active the COVID-19 infection. It typically takes 1 to 3 weeks after someone becomes infected for their body to make antibodies; some people may take longer to develop antibodies. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with an active infection.

Currently, it is unknown how long a person is protected from a COVID infection if that individual had the virus in the past and recovered. A conservative estimate based on available evidence suggests some degree of immunity lasts up to 90 days. For protection from the Delta variant, it is also not known how long protection lasts from a previous infection. For these reasons, we strongly urge all people – including those who have recovered from a past COVID illness – to get the COVID-19 shot.

Q: Are positive results from antibody tests reported to the State and counted as new cases (as far as the numbers go on the public reporting site?

No. We are currently not including positive antibody tests into case counts. This is because the diagnostic tests are better defined and more reliable. At the appropriate time, we will incorporate antibody test results into our cases counts.

Q: How are the number of active COVID-19 cases determined?

Because of several factors and variables, including when a case is identified, when that person becomes symptom-free and because we only know of cases reported to the State, there is not a simple way to determine the number of active cases in a region or statewide at any given time. For these reasons, the Department of Health does not calculate an accurate number for active cases.

Q: On it’s website, the State calculates cases as “Presumed Recovered.” How is that determined?

Presumed recovered counts are updated weekly on the coronavirus website. A person is presumed recovered if:

·         it has been more than 14 days, since he/she tested positive and he/she is not currently in the hospital or deceased (when hospital status is known), or

·         It has been more than 21 days since he/she tested positive and he/she is not deceased (when hospital status is unknown).

Q: Are individuals tracked to see how many tests they've had and what tests were done and reported as one? And, if an individual is retested, or when they are required to have two tests in order to return to work, are each of their tests being counted as a new case in the numbers?

All positive cases are de-duplicated and represent one individual regardless of how many positive tests they received.

Q: Earlier this year I was extremely ill. My doctor tested me for the coronavirus and the test result was negative. I recovered, but I believe I had the virus. How can I know if I had COVID-19?

It is possible for a COVID-19 test to give a negative result in some people with the virus. This means that you could possibly have had COVID-19 even though the test was negative. For this reason, healthcare providers treat a person’s symptoms regardless of the test result.

 An antibody test would indicate whether you had COVID-19 or not. We recommend that you talk to your healthcare provider about such a test and any other recommended next steps.

Currently, it is unknown how long a person is protected from a COVID infection if that individual had the virus in the past and recovered. A conservative estimate based on available evidence suggests some degree of immunity lasts up to 90 days. For protection from the Delta variant, it is also not known how long protection lasts from a previous infection. For these reasons, we strongly urge all people – including those who have recovered from a past COVID illness – to get the COVID-19 shot.

Q: Upon recovery from COVID-19, am I immune?

Currently, it is unknown how long a person is protected from a COVID infection if that individual had the virus in the past and recovered. A conservative estimate based on available evidence suggests some degree of immunity lasts up to 90 days. For protection from the Delta variant, it is also not known how long protection lasts from a previous infection. For these reasons, we strongly urge all people – including those who have recovered from a past COVID illness – to get the COVID-19 shot.

Q: If someone has multiple tests – some are positive and some negative – are all those tests being counted as positive cases or are they looking at the names for duplicates?

Case counts reported on the LDH website represent individual persons with positive results for COVID-19, not numbers of positive test results received. Multiple results are often reported for an individual (positive, negative, or otherwise) due to repeat testing, but a single positive test for each individual is used for case counting.

LDH uses an extensive deduplication process involving automated and manual review to account for non-exact person matches due to data entry errors, incomplete data, and other issues in the lab data reported to LDH.

Despite our best efforts, there may still be a small number of duplicate records in our dataset, and these will be resolved as they are detected, which may lead to changes in case counts. The actual number of cases is likely higher than reported here due to test reporting lags, incomplete testing, and undetected cases among asymptomatic individuals.

Q: Hasn’t a new at-home test been developed so people can see if they have ever been exposed to the coronavirus?

The Food and Drug Administration, FDA, has approved the first coronavirus test that lets people collect a sample at home. This test marks the first time the agency has cleared an at-home Covid-19 test that will allow for at-home sample collection.

Developed by LabCorp, the test will initially be made available to health care workers and first responders who might have been exposed to the virus.

Q: My tests were done by a Quest Diagnostics lab. What’s the process getting my results from Quest?

Laboratory results for a Quest Diagnostics lab will be sent to you through the secure MyQuest online portal or app. Sign up at MyQuestDiagnostics.com or download the app on the Apple App Store of Google Play.

If you have difficulty scheduling your appointment, please call Quest’s dedicated COVID-19 line at 866-448-7719, Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM

Q: Can I get a test from Quest Labs without a doctor’s order?

Testing sites at a Walmart in Shreveport and one a Walmart in LaPlace are using Quest Diagnostics as their lab partner. Tests are available to people who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and all health care providers and first responders.

The sites are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. The testing site will require an appointment through Quest’s MyQuestTM online portal and app, www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com, which will screen and schedule appointments for those individuals that meet medical eligibility for the testing sites.

If you have difficulty scheduling your appointment, please call Quest’s dedicated COVID-19 line at 866-448-7719, Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM

Q: My tests were done by LabCorp. What’s the process of getting my results?

Results for tests conducted by LabCorp can be accessed through their online portal at www.labcorp.com/results or their mobile app. Download the LabCorp Mobile App on the Apple App Store of Google Play.

LabCorp processed the tests conducted at UNO and at Armstrong Park.

Q: Do hospitals have policies in place to keep inpatients who have been tested for COVID-19 and whose tests are pending from having visitors in their rooms?

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are restricting non-essential personnel from visiting people in their facilities. Patients under investigation (awaiting testing) should not have visitors, and healthcare personnel should be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

Q: Is the State testing patients who are in jail?

Patients who are suspected to have COVID-19 and who reside in a correctional facility or in a long term care facility are appropriate for testing by the State lab.

Q: Of the people who have tested positive so far in Louisiana, how many have needed hospitalization?

The most up-to-date information about cases, deaths, hospitalizations and other data can be found at the  Department of Health’s COVID-19 website: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus 

Q: What are the appropriate swab kits to use for COVID19 testing?

Providers can use any available Viral Transport Media (VTM) or Universal Transport Media (UTM) available to them, making sure to follow instructions on the testing materials and ensuring the vial is completely closed and sealed.

Q: If an employee on the oil rig tests positive for COVID-19, should we isolate them on the rig or send them home?

According to the CDC, it is safer to remove the worker from the rig. Patients can be more safely isolated in a hospital or home setting, and it’s better to have the patient close to medical care in the event that that person’s health worsens.

Q: Is everyone who dies being tested for COVID-19?

The only decedents who should be tested for COVID-19 by a coroner are those people who die with respiratory symptoms that are suggestive of a COVID-19, AND who did not have a link to someone with a known COVID-19. There is no need to test those who die of a “COVID-19-like” illness if they have been associated with another case (we’ll consider this a COVID-19 death). In addition, there is no need to test for COVID-19 in a person who did not die of a severe respiratory illness suggestive of COVID-19.

Q: What determines whether or not a fatality is attributed to COVID-19?

When we've counted a death as a COVID-19 death it means there has been a positive test result. It does not necessarily mean it is the cause of death. The cause of death could be a combination of COVID-19 and underlying conditions/complications.

Q: What is the COVID app that LDH is promoting? How do I get it and why is it beneficial to have this on my phone? Should I be concerned about my privacy?

The app is called COVID Defense, and is available for e application for iPhones, Google and Android phones.

The app allows users to receive notifications informing them if there is a risk they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. Use of the technology is completely voluntary, private, and secure. COVID Defense does not collect the location of a phone or individual to detect exposure, and it does not share a user's identity. App users must opt in to use the tool and may opt out at any time. No personal information is required to use the app.

COVID Defense can be downloaded in the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play Store. For more information or to download the application, visit coviddefensela.com.

Q: What are the current CDC testing requirements for international travel to the US?

Effective January 26, 2021, CDC requires that all air passengers 2 years of age or older traveling to the US (including US Citizens and legal permanent residents) to get tested no more than 3 days before travel by air into the United States and show a negative PCR test result (rapid tests are not acceptable) to the airline before boarding a flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). This does not apply to air passengers flying from a US territory or possession to a US state. The airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of COVID-19 in the country where the test is administered. For additional information about these requirements visit the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html

COVID-19 VACCINES

Q: Who is eligible to receive a vaccine at a pharmacy or other provider?

Everyone 12 and older in the state of Louisiana is eligible for the vaccine. Pfizer is available for individuals 12 and older and Moderna and J&J are available for individuals 18 and older.

For a person younger than age 18, parental/caregiver consent is needed to get the shot. To make it easy, the Louisiana Department of Health has developed a consent form that can be found on its website at: covidvaccine.la.gov

Q: Is parental consent needed for a person under age 18 to get the COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer)? If so, can the consent be given by someone other than the parent?

Yes and yes. Parental consent for anyone under 18 years old is required. This can be done in person or via signed form found on this page: https://ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine/  If the minor child is accompanied by an adult who is not the parent, the form is still required and is valid.

Emancipated youths should check with the vaccine provider to determine what documentation (if any) is needed.

Q: Can a parent or legal guardian give consent over the phone for a minor to receive COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes, although a written or electronic consent is preferable, over-the-phone consent can be used, if necessary.

Q: Are children eligible for the vaccine?

As of now, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that is available for children. However, it is limited to people age 12 and above.

Q: I am currently pregnant. Is it safe for me to get the COVID-19 vaccination?

According to the CDC, if you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. COVID-19 during pregnancy increases risks for severe complications and can also increase chances for preterm birth.

Two leading obstetricians’ groups, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, endorse the vaccine for pregnant women. They said vaccinations in tens of thousands of pregnant women over the past several months have shown the shots are safe and effective during pregnancy.

If you have questions about getting vaccinated during pregnancy, a conversation with your healthcare provider might help, but is not required for vaccination. You can also contact MotherToBaby at 1-866-626-6847. Experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish. The free and confidential service is available Monday–Friday 8am–5pm (EST)

Q: Where can I find a location to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Q: Do I have to make an appointment or can I just walk in?

Patients must contact a participating provider or register online with the provider to make an appointment. You can find a provider at the federal vaccine locator site https://www.vaccines.gov/.  Patients who arrive without an appointment will not be vaccinated. Vaccinations are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

If you need assistance scheduling a vaccine please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: What is the Vaccine Hotline?

As of April 8, 2021 LDH now has a COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 1-855-453-0774. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Vaccine Hotline will help residents:

The hotline will be able to schedule vaccine appointments for residents at any LDH vaccination sites or with other providers that use a phone number to schedule. For providers who only offer web-based scheduling, call agents may be able to help residents navigate those systems.

For a full list of the vaccine providers and locations to register on your own please go to Vaccines.gov - Find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you                

Q: What do I do if there is no pharmacy or other vaccine provider near me?

The Department of Health is working every day to enroll more pharmacies and other providers in the COVID vaccination program.

For a full list of the vaccine providers and locations please go to Vaccines.gov - Find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you and (next page)

If you need assistance assistance finding a location or scheduling a vaccine please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: How and when will nursing home residents be vaccinated?

All Louisiana nursing homes are being vaccinated via a partnership between the federal government, CVS and Walgreens.

Q: How does the vaccine work?

Unlike many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain a dead or a weakened virus that triggers an immune response. Instead, the COVID-19 vaccine contains a genetic instruction manual that tells your immune system how to respond and protect you from exposure to the actual virus.

The technology used in the vaccines is not new. It is called mRNA, or messenger RNA, and it has been around for decades. This is the first time mRNA has been used in a vaccine, but the effect is the same as other vaccines: Your body gets protection without the serious consequences of a severe illness due to COVID-19 exposure.

Q: Are the vaccines safe?

The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety monitoring to increase our ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. By using v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: What if I’m concerned about allergies or adverse reactions to the vaccines?

According to the CDC, if you previously had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccines (even if it was not severe), you should not get either of the currently available vaccines, Pfizer or Moderna.

Those with a history of allergies, however, should consult with their doctor before getting vaccinated.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction to the vaccine? What should I do if I have these symptoms after getting the vaccine?

All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on site. People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people should be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine. 

If you experience a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine and leaving the site, you should call 911.

In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if the redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours or if your side effects do not seem to be going away after a few days.

Please visit the CDC website for more information about allergic reactions and how to report them  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/allergic-reaction.html

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: If an individual gets the first vaccine and has an allergic reaction to the shot, should they get the second dose?

According to the CDC, if you previously had an immediate allergic reaction - even if it was not severe - to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccines, you should not get either of the currently available vaccines, Pfizer or Moderna.

If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get the second dose. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Regarding allergic reactions, if someone had a reaction after taking the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine can/should they take the J&J vaccine? And, if someone did not take the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine due to concerns of allergic reaction should they have the same concerns about taking the J&J?

No, if the patient had an allergic reaction to either Pfizer or Moderna, it is not recommended at this point that they get either a second dose of the same vaccine, or get a different vaccine brand (including J&J).  That may change in the future though.  If they have had an allergic reaction to any vaccine, all future vaccinations should be discussed with their primary MD.

Q: Are there side effects to getting the vaccine?

Minor side effects are a normal sign that the body is building protection. Common minor side effects include pain and swelling in the arm along with fever, chills, tiredness, or a headache often lasting 24-36 hours. Pain at the injection site can be relieved by applying a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area. The discomfort from fever includes drinking plenty of fluids and dressing lightly.

These normal side effects may feel like a minor flu and even affect the ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: If I get the vaccine, when should I expect to have side effects?

You may experience some side effects that can occur within the first three days of vaccination, and resolve within 1–3 days of onset. These minor side effects include soreness, facial redness or flushing, an increased or rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath. Some people have no side effects.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Will the second dose of the vaccine have the same side effects as the first?

Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: How common is a severe medical reaction to the COVID vaccine?

The most common reaction to the vaccine is an allergic reaction. The CDC has just issued a report on these allergic reactions and found that during the first 1.8 million first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, there were 21 severe reactions (11.1 cases per million doses). The large majority occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. For this reason, people with a history of allergic reactions to vaccines are monitored for 30 minutes after getting the shot. To date, there have been zero such reactions to patients in Louisiana. For comparison, the allergic reaction to the flu vaccine is just above 1 case per million doses.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: I received the vaccine and now my arm has a large knot at the injection site that is raised, red, and warm to the touch.  What should I do to treat this?

Reactions to the vaccine at the site of the injection are very common.  Redness, warmth, swelling, and pain are all very common. The treatment is to apply ice (which decreases inflammation), take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain (unless your doctor has advised you not to use these medications), and time.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered at the same time as other routine vaccines?

Yes. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days.

CDC’s extensive experience with non-COVID-19 vaccines has demonstrated that vaccine effectiveness and adverse event profiles are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously as when they are administered alone.

Q: Will other vaccines such as the flu vaccine protect me from Covid-19?

No. While getting your annual flu vaccine is always a good idea, as it helps protect both you and the community from what can be a serious virus, it will not provide any protection against the Covid-19 virus. Only the three currently authorized vaccinations (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) will provide protection against Covid-19.

Q: Will the vaccines be ok for a person with cancer, who is immunocompromised, or has a chronic disease?

People with certain health conditions, including cancer, may be at higher risk for serious disease if they get COVID. However, the COVID vaccine was not tested on patients undergoing cancer treatments or patients during clinical trials. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, there will be more information learned about the indications, benefits, and side effects in people with serious health conditions. You should always consult with your doctor to get the most up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision about vaccination.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: How long will the vaccine offer protection?

This is a new vaccine so it is still unknown as there is not enough information at this point to know how long the vaccine will protect against the coronavirus. As more people are vaccinated, we will have more information about how long the protection will last.

Q: How much does it cost to get vaccinated?

While we remain in the pandemic the federal government has ensured that vaccines are made available to those in need without cost to the individual. A provider cannot ask a patient for payment, though they can bill insurance for a vaccine administration fee or the federal government if the person is uninsured. A provider also may not bill for a regular office visit to administer the vaccine.

Q: I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: How long must a person wait before getting the COVID vaccine if they had COVID?

Vaccination should be deferred until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation. This recommendation applies to people who develop COVID-19 infection before receiving any vaccine doses, those who develop COVID-19 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose, and those who tested positive on an antibody test prior to receiving any vaccine dose.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Is it possible to have a positive result for COVID after getting the vaccine?

Antibody tests should (and hopefully will be) positive following vaccination. However, if a person is infected with COVID (even though they have been vaccinated), they could still be positive on a viral test. Getting vaccinated will not make you positive on a viral test if you are not infected with the actual virus.

Q: Do I have to go to a pharmacy or other vaccine provider in my parish?

No. You can make an appointment with any pharmacy or other provider that has the vaccine.

Q: Do I have to go back to the same pharmacy or provider for the second dose?

Yes. The pharmacy or provider where you received your first dose will have the record of that vaccination and are automatically scheduled to receive 2nd dose shipments.

The Department of Health has given guidance to vaccine providers to make sure and schedule people for their 2nd doses before they leave after receiving their 1st dose of vaccine.

For any issues scheduling your second dose please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 1-855-453-0774

Q: What do I do if I am homebound and cannot visit a local pharmacy or other vaccine provider?

Anyone who is homebound, for whatever reason, can call the state’s Vaccination Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 to have a provider bring a vaccine directly to their home.

Q: How do I get information about the number of vaccine doses that have been given out in Louisiana and in my parish?

The Department of Health has a dashboard on its covid vaccine website – covidvaccine.la.gov – that provides vaccine information. At this time, we have data at the regional level. In time, we hope to offer more and more detailed information on the dashboard.

Q: Is the vaccine only available to Louisiana residents or can someone from out of state get the vaccine?

Louisiana is not limiting vaccinations to Louisiana residents. People from out of state who meet Louisiana state eligibility requirements can make an appointment for a vaccine. 

Q: Can people who immigrated to the United States or who are visiting from another country receive a vaccination in Louisiana? Do they need to show documentation?

The vaccine is available to anyone who meets the current age, health status or eligibility group status. Louisiana or U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.

Q: What if I don’t have an ID? Can I still get the vaccine if I’m in an eligible age group?

While the guidance from LDH does encourage providers to ask for some form of ID to assess age, if the person has no ID they will accept self-attestation.

Q: Do I have to be a patient or current customer at a vaccine provider to make an appointment or will vaccine providers prioritize their own patients/customers for vaccine appointments?

When offering the vaccine or setting appointments, providers cannot limit vaccination to their existing patients.LDH encourages and expects a fair and equitable process that does not advantage or disadvantage any one group or classification of patient/recipient over another.

Please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline if you need assistance scheduling a vaccine with a provider: 1-855-453-0774

Q: I got my first dose at Walgreens but have been unable to find out when I need to go back for my second dose. What should I do?

Please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline for assistance scheduling your second dose: 1-855-453-0774

Q: Can a COVID positive person receive their second dose of the vaccine?

Whether it’s for the first or second dose of the vaccine, someone with a known COVID-19 infection should put off their vaccination until they have recovered from symptoms or the criteria has been met for them to discontinue isolation.

Q: I prefer one brand of the vaccine instead of the other(s). How can I find a place that is using the brand I prefer?

The best way is to go to the federal government’s vaccine locator website to find options for providers administering the brand you prefer closest to your zip code https://www.vaccines.gov/        

For assistance scheduling an appointment please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Who do I contact if I’m interested in becoming a COVID-19 vaccine provider?

LDH has established a COVID-19 Provider Enrollment Hotline to assist potential COVID-19 vaccination providers with enrolling in the program. If there are questions related to enrollment, please call 225-325-5880. A team member will be available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm (excluding holidays) to help complete the enrollment process. The following help will be provided:

For technical assistance with LA LINKS, providers should email: LA.LINKS@la.gov

Q: I have moved to Louisiana from another state where I received my first dose of the COVID vaccine. How and/or where can I get my second dose in Louisiana? 

You can search the federal government’s vaccine locator website to find options for providers closest to your zip code https://www.vaccines.gov/        and contact them about receiving your second dose.

For assistance scheduling an appointment please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Why should I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine instead of Moderna & Pfizer? Is it as effective as the other two?

People should get any FDA-approved COVID vaccine as soon as it becomes available..

After rigorous trials and evaluation, the FDA has found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be safe and effective. It has been authorized for use, just like the other two vaccines. Just like the other vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

You are also fully vaccinated with one dose of this vaccine, whereas the other authorized vaccines are two doses. There are many people who actually prefer a one and done vaccine.

 Q: I heard in the news there are concerns about  the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being morally compromised? What should I do?

LDH encourages residents to consult their doctors or medical professionals in their communities in making an informed decision. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective, and is another tool that will help us protect communities and ultimately end the COVID pandemic that has cost us more than 9,600 lives in Louisiana. LDH encourages residents to take the first vaccine made available to them - if they pass it up it could quite literally cost them their life.

Q: Are fetal cells used to make the COVID-19 vaccines?

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any aborted fetal cells. However, Pfizer and Moderna did perform confirmation tests (to ensure the vaccines work) using fetal cell lines. And Johnson & Johnson uses fetal cell lines in vaccine development, confirmation and production. Fetal cell lines are cells that grow in a laboratory. They descend from cells taken from elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s. Those individual cells from the 1970s and 1980s have since multiplied into many new cells over the past four or five decades, creating fetal cell lines. Current fetal cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue. They do not contain any tissue from a fetus.

Q: Where can I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Is it being distributed to every parish?

The best way is to go to the federal government’s vaccine locator website to find options for providers administering the J&J vaccine closest to your zip code https://www.vaccines.gov/        

For assistance scheduling an appointment please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: If I have asthma, can I take either of the two-shot series vaccines or do I have to wait for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The medical literature does not suggest that the J&J vaccine is preferable to the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in patients with asthma. In fact, asthma was a high-risk condition before J&J came out. We advise patients to get any vaccine that is available and convenient, and not wait.

Q: Can someone with or who has previously had Guillain-Barre Syndrome get the COVID shot?

People who have previously had GBS may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, no cases of GBS have been reported following vaccination in participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. One case of GBS was reported in a vaccinated participant in the Johnson & Johnson clinical trial (compared to one GBS case among those who received placebo). With few exceptions, the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) general best practice guidelines for immunization do not include a history of GBS as a precaution to vaccination with other vaccines.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: I was ill and had to reschedule my second dose vaccine appointment, but found out that the provider who gave me my first shot has switched vaccine brands or says I need to find another provider to get my next shot?

Please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline for assistance scheduling your second dose: 1-855-453-0774

Q: How do I volunteer to help with getting more people vaccinated and/or the “Bring Back Louisiana” initiative?

Go to covidvaccine.la.gov and click on “How Can I Volunteer” or go directly to the Louisiana Volunteers in Action website that is administered by the Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health: https://www.lava.dhh.louisiana.gov/

Q: I’m currently sick with COVID. Can I get the vaccine?

Per the CDC - No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. People without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

Q: Do I need to stay in my provider’s office after I get the vaccine?

Yes. Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccination will wait at the location of where they got the shot for 15 minutes. During this time, healthcare professionals are watching to make sure everything is OK. That’s because if something were to happen, it would happen quickly. Things that we are looking for are facial redness or flushing, an increased or rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath. Some people may be asked to wait for 30 minutes if they have allergies or have had an allergic reaction to a shot or to some

Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccines change my DNA?

No. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

Q: How quickly will the COVID-19 vaccines end the pandemic?

According to the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the estimate is dependent on significant numbers of Americans being willing to and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Can everyone in my household get the vaccine at the same time?

Yes, everyone above the age of 12+ (Pfizer) or 18+ (Moderna and J&J) is now eligible in the state of Louisiana. When making an appointment, check with the vaccine location to make sure they have enough appointments for the entire household.

Q: What are the ingredients in the vaccines?

Each of the three Covid-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the US have slightly different sets of ingredients, but in general, they contain a delivery mechanism that triggers our body’s immune system to create antibodies to the virus, plus a blend of lipids (fats), salts, and sugars that help to stabilize and deliver the active ingredient. You can find a detailed listing of ingredients for each vaccine on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

None of the vaccines contain: eggs, preservatives, latex, fetal cell tissue or microchips.

Q: Can I choose which vaccine I get?

The recommendation is that you get the first vaccine which is available to you so that you can get the protection you need against the virus.

You can go to  the federal government’s vaccine locator website to search options for providers by different brands closest to your zip code https://www.vaccines.gov/       

For assistance scheduling an appointment please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: How long after the first dose can a person wait before it’s too late to get the second dose?

The Moderna vaccine requires a second shot, or booster, 28 days after the first. The Pfizer vaccine requires the second dose after 21 days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should get their second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. And, in guidance published on March 19, 2021, the CDC said, “If the second dose is administered beyond the suggested interval, the series does not need to be restarted” although it “may be less effective” than completing the series on time.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: What is the current status of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?

On April 23, a CDC panel recommended that the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be lifted. The panel also recommended that a warning label be added to the vaccine packaging noting the very rare blood clotting disorder risk. Based on the panel’s recommendation, the FDA ended the pause; states and local jurisdictions can now resume use of the J&J vaccine.

Q: Should I be concerned about the safety of other vaccines?

The identification of what is approximately a less than 2-in-a-million risk associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a sign that the nation’s safety monitoring system for COVID vaccines is working. After any vaccine is successful in clinical trials and approved for use, the FDA continues to monitor it for safety. The pause in the use of the J&J vaccine allowed scientists to evaluate each incidence of the clotting disorder. They determined that the level of risk was very low and that the benefits of continued use of the J&J vaccine greatly outweighed any risk associated with it.

Q: What was learned during the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause?

The 10-day pause gave health officials time to review additional data to better understand the degree of risk associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine related to a blood clotting disorder. It also gave federal agencies and the medical community time to determine and share information on the most appropriate treatment response. The decision to lift the pause is based on the experts’ determination that the benefits of again administering the vaccine greatly outweigh the very small degree of risk associated with its use.

Q: Who is at risk for the blood clotting disorder associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The likelihood of the blood clotting disorder resulting from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is extremely rare. The risk varies by age and gender. There have been fewer than 1 case per million for men and for women who are 50 years or older; the risk is estimated to be about 7 cases per million for women age 18 to 49. If you have questions about the J&J vaccine or other vaccines, talk to your doctor. You can also talk with a medical professional at the LDH Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774.

Q:If I got the Johnson & Johnson shot, am I at risk?

If you received the Johnson & Johnson shot and have not developed any of the side effects associated with the blood clotting disorder (severe headache or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, neurological symptoms, leg swelling) within three weeks of being vaccinated, the risk of an adverse reaction is unlikely. If you have questions or concerns, consult your doctor. You can also talk with a medical professional at the LDH Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774.

Q: If I’m offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should I wait until I can get either Pfizer or Moderna?

For most people, getting the first available COVID vaccine is the best thing you can do to safeguard your health. Your odds of contracting a possibly life-threatening case of COVID-19 are much higher than your odds of serious side effects from the vaccine.

Q: Is it OK for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to be Pfizer if my first dose was Moderna? Or the reverse of this?

According to the CDC, every effort should be made to determine which vaccine product was received as the first dose to ensure completion of the vaccine series with the same product.

In exceptional situations – such as when the vaccine product given for the first dose cannot be determined or is no longer available – any available mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at a minimum interval of 28 days between doses to complete the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination series.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: I have heard that some people are getting sick with COVID-19 after getting vaccinated. Is this possible?

 

Yes, this is possible since no vaccine is 100 percent effective. With almost 70 million people now fully vaccinated, there have been a few of these breakthrough cases. These cases represent a tiny percentage of those who have been fully vaccinated, and experts say they are neither unexpected nor occurring at an alarming rate. Indeed, the rarity of the breakthrough illnesses in the context of the vast scale of inoculations reinforces the encouraging message from public health experts: The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective.

   

Q: Right after getting my second shot, I received an automated message from the pharmacy stating I needed to make an appointment for my second shot. Why did I get this call?

The pharmacy in question has a gap in their IT system that is causing this automated message. They are aware of the problem and are implementing a fix that should be completed in June. The problem is, in a very limited amount of cases, the pharmacy has noticed that their system doesn’t sync with the notification system and it generates these calls. If the patient is concerned – and they shouldn’t be – they are encouraged to call the store to make sure the record for the second shot is in the system.

Q: What if I or a friend/family member have a disability? Is there support for accessing vaccines?

Yes, On June 8, 2021 the U.S. Health and Human Services launched a national hotline to connect people with disabilities to information and services to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines. This hotline, called the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) 888-677-1199 from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM CT, is now available to help people with disabilities

DIAL is operated as a collaboration between a consortium of organizations serving people with disabilities and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), which administers the Eldercare Locator.

Information to learn more about and connect with DIAL: acl.gov/dial; 888-677-1199 from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET; DIAL@n4a.org

Q: What are the chances of young people getting myocarditis or pericarditis after getting an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccination?

There has been a rare connection between myocarditis and pericarditis and the vaccines in a small number of individuals. However, according to numerous leading healthcare groups, the benefits of the vaccines greatly outweigh the risk.

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviewed the concern and concluded, “Myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue) is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. In addition, myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.”

The recommendation is as such, “Get vaccinated right away. This is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your community, and to return to a more normal lifestyle safely and quickly.”

If you would like to discuss concerns with a medical professional please call the LDH COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 1-855-453-0774

Q: Is it possible to test positive for COVID after getting fully vaccinated?

Yes, but it is rare. According to the CDC, a small percentage of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still develop COVID-19 illness if they are exposed to the virus that causes it. These are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.” It is also possible that some fully vaccinated people might have infections, but not have symptoms (asymptomatic infections).

As of July 16th, LDH states that COVID-19 cases are surging among the unvaccinated in Louisiana. It’s not one outbreak, it’s not one region. This is a statewide problem. Because our statewide vaccination rate is too low, everyone is at elevated risk and should take precautions immediately for the safety of themselves and their families.

Q: I received a J&J shot that data shows might be less effective than the other vaccines with the COVID variants, should I be more concerned about getting COVID? Some doctors have recommended getting a booster shot with Pfizer or Moderna – should I do that?

Through clinical trials and real life use, all approved vaccines have been shown to be equally effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Right now, there is no information to confirm you need a second shot with J&J even with the Delta variant. The CDC has not approved a booster shot for J&J, but J&J has submitted data to the FDA for review.

Q: Can I still register for the Shot At A Million Lottery for getting my COVID-19 Vaccine?

No, the registration link closed at noon on July 31st and the state is no longer accepting more people ahead of the final drawings in August. The next weekly cash prize and scholarship will be announced on August 6 and the final grand prize announcement of $1M along with 5 scholarships will be held on August 13th. If you are not aware of the public announcement by the governor on these dates you can go to the website for the list of winners https://shotatamillion.com/        

Q: Is there a new cash incentive for college students to get the COVID-19 vaccine? How do I access this?

Yes, on August 13th, the Governor and LDH announced the “Shot For 100” incentive program that will give $100 to the first 75,000 college students who get their COVID-19 vaccine at participating institutions of higher education. As of October 1, this program has expanded to anyone in Louisiana who gets their COVID-19 vaccine. It does not apply to vaccines administered before October 1st unless college students already participated. Individuals must receive their vaccine at one of the community-based sites (participating colleges and universities are included) as listed on ShotFor100.com.

Anyone in the general public receiving their first shot and any college student receiving their first or second shot is eligible and all individuals may only participate once. Minors are eligible for the cash incentive but require parental consent to get the vaccine.

Individuals will receive a deactivated Visa gift card upon vaccination. After registering online at ShotFor100.com, the card will be loaded with $100. This limited-time offer for college students and the general public will end October 30 or while supplies last.

To learn more, visit ShotFor100.com or call Louisiana’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774.

Q: Who is eligible for the “Shot for 100” incentive program? Is it for everyone now?

Yes, as of October 1, 2021 Louisiana’s Shot For 100 vaccine incentive program expands beyond college students to include anyone in Louisiana who gets their COVID vaccine. It does not apply retroactively to vaccines administered before October 1st. People must receive the vaccine at participating community-based sites as listed on ShotFor100.com.

Anyone in the general public receiving their first shot and any college student receiving their first or second shot is eligible now during the month of October and all individuals may only participate once. Minors are eligible for the cash incentive but require parental consent to get the vaccine.

Individuals will receive a deactivated Visa gift card upon vaccination. After registering online at ShotFor100.com, the card will be loaded with $100. This limited-time offer for college students and the general public will end October 30 or while supplies last.

For additional information and questions please go to ShotFor100.com or call Louisiana’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0074.

Q: Is the Louisiana Department of Health making calls asking if people have had a COVID vaccination, or encouraging people to get a shot?

Yes, as part of our Bring Back Louisiana campaign, we have a contractor that is making calls like this to selected areas of the State. The areas are those in which there is a nearby vaccination site. We have found that many people are not aware of vaccination locations, so our goal is to make sure they know when and where they can conveniently get a shot. 

Q: Does my employer have access to my vaccination records?

No, vaccination records, like all medical records, are available only to the patient, the individual’s healthcare provider and to select other public health officials.

Q: How can I prove my vaccination status?

There are several legally acceptable methods:

1.       You can carry your physical vaccination card, which you received at the time you got your shots. If you do so, consider having it laminated.

2.       You can use Louisiana’s digital driver’s license app, LA Wallet, to digitally display your Covid vaccination status (LA Wallet is available here: https://lawallet.com/.)

3.       You can register with Louisiana’s online vaccine registry, MyIR, and have the option to either print or digitally display a Covid-19 vaccine status.You can access MyIR here.

4.       Finally, you could go to your healthcare provider and ask them to print a copy of your vaccination records on their official letterhead, with a date and signature, just as you would for a child’s vaccination status for their schools.

Q: I have lost/misplaced my COVID-19 vaccine card. How can I get another one?

You can register or log into MyIR to see all of your Louisiana vaccination records, and print out a copy of your records, which will also serve as proof of vaccination status. You can access MyIR here.

If you prefer or are not able to do that online, please contact the vaccine provider. They will have your records on file, and will be able to fill a new card out for you. If you received your vaccination at a site which is no longer in operation, your local parish health unit or primary care physician will be able to access your records on Louisiana’s Immunization Information System, LINKS. Please be sure that all details entered are a match for your Louisiana driver’s license or state ID, including name, DOB, address, and zip code, or you will not be able to download your vaccination status to LA Wallet.

Q: I was vaccinated for COVID-19 and am trying to use the LA Wallet app to show my vaccination status, but I cannot get it to work. Can you help?

Your information will not show up in LA Wallet unless the information in the Immunization Registry (LINKS) exactly matches that on your driver’s license. For example, if your name is Robert on your driver’s license, but was entered as Bob or Rob in LINKS, the system won’t work for you. It’s the same if there are different addresses in the two systems. Please make sure the details entered into LINKS precisely match what is shown on your Louisiana driver’s license: name, date of birth, address, and zip code.

To fix an information problem such as name or address, you will need to have your vaccine provider, your doctor or staff at the Parish Health Unit update your information in the state’s LINKS vaccine registry so that the two records are an exact match. If you do this, we encourage you to stay at that site and attempt to update your LA Wallet and see if your vaccination record appears.

If unsuccessful, LA Wallet has established a robust online help system. The link is: https://lawallet.com/support/ Click on the Covid Status icon and you’ll find information that will help you make this connection. There is also a phone helpline at: 225-263-4488.

Q: I was vaccinated for COVID in another state. How can I get that vaccination record to show up in LA Wallet? What if I lost that vaccination card?

LA Wallet cannot access a vaccination record from another state. An out-of-state vaccination will not show up in the Louisiana Immunization Network’s (LINKS) database which syncs with LA Wallet for COVID vaccination records. However, you should contact the Immunization Registry of the state where you were vaccinated and request your information if you do not already have a vaccination card. Once you have received this information, your healthcare provider in Louisiana will be able to enter the information into LINKS. If you prefer, you can visit a Parish Health Unit and the staff there can access LINKS and enter your COVID vaccination as well. Please make sure the details entered into LINKS precisely match what is shown on your Louisiana driver’s license: name, date of birth, address, and zip code.

Q: I was vaccinated at a VA clinic. However, my vaccination record is not showing up in the LA Wallet.

Currently, the COVID vaccination records of VA patients are not accessible to LA Wallet. However, the Office of Public Health is working with the Veterans Administration to add the vaccination records of VA patients to the Louisiana Immunization Network (LINKS) system per a data sharing agreement.

When this agreement is complete, the vaccination records of VA patients will be available in the LINKS system, and accessible by LA Wallet. Although we do not have an estimate of when this will occur, this process will one day allow Louisiana’ VA patients to have their COVID-19 vaccination records appear on the LA Wallet app. We encourage VA patients to routinely check the LA Wallet app and see if their COVID vaccination record is visible.

Q: I am a member of the military and received my vaccination from my Army unit (or Air Force, National Guard, Navy, etc). However, my vaccination record is not showing up in LA Wallet. Can this be fixed?

Not at this time. The COVID vaccination records of anyone working for the Department of Defense is not accessible to LA Wallet. 

Q: What is the v-safe app?

The v-safe app uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from the CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID- 19 vaccine dose if needed. For more information, go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html

Q: When will the FDA fully approve the three available COVID-19 vaccines? Why were they already declared safe before this approval?

On August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech now carries the strongest endorsement from the FDA for people age 16 and over. The vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Following clinical trials last year, the three vaccines now used in the U.S. received approval for emergency use based on those studies over two months, the time period when serious side effects typically arise. The studies continued, and when six months of data was available for the Pfizer vaccine, it received full approval. The Modera and J&J vaccines are used under the EUA and are awaiting full approval like the Pfizer vaccine.

Q: Can I use ivermectin to treat COVID-19? I heard there was a study that showed it was effective?

No. Ivermectin is not considered safe for treating or preventing COVID-19. However, there is misinformation on the internet that has resulted in some people mistakenly believing the drug can be used for humans, and many people are now requiring medical support and have been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin.

Key information:

***If you have already consumed Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 please immediately consult with your healthcare provider or call the poison control center.

Q: I recently received my third dose or a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Will this show up in my LA Wallet app?

Yes. In a few days, LA Wallet will release an upgraded version of their app. This update will include a listing of all COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the green check mark that indicates your “fully vaccinated status.” Note, whether or not you get an extra shot, the green check appears once you receive two doses of Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of J&J. 

Q: Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Yes, you can get the shots in the same visit. CDC and other health experts say that past experience shows  vaccines work as they should and any side effects are similar whether the shots are given separately or in the same visit.

Q: Is the state of Louisiana going to recommend a booster vaccine for immunocompromised people who received their two vaccine doses?

Yes. Third doses of the COVID vaccine are now available for people with compromised immune systems. A third dose is considered part of the vaccine series for people with weakened immune systems and not a booster vaccine. Following CDC’s new recommendation in mid-August, the Louisiana Department of Health is allowing third doses for people whose immune systems are compromised moderately to severely and are fully vaccinated with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

The third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine can be received at least 28 days after their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

People recommended to receive an additional dose include those who have:

         Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

         Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

         Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

         Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)

         Advanced or untreated HIV infection

         Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

         Other conditions which cause moderate or severe immunosuppression similar to the above conditions

Q: Has the CDC approved booster shots for all three COVID-19 vaccines? Are they available in Louisiana?

Yes, on September 23, CDC approved a third (booster) shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for certain populations and for people in some high risk occupational and institutional settings. On October 21, the CDC approved the booster shot for Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines. Louisiana will be administering booster shots for all three COVID-19 vaccines.

For people who received the Pfizer and Moderna the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

For people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different vaccine for their booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. 

***People unsure if they need a booster dose such as whether they qualify under a particular category or other relevant questions should discuss risk/benefits of the shot with their physician or healthcare practitioner***

Q: Where can I get a booster vaccine? 

Booster shots are given at the same vaccine locations where COVID-19 are administered, which can be found at https://www.vaccines.gov/ There are no vaccine sites designated only for booster shots and you don’t have to get it at the same location you received your first two shots.

Q: What do I need to do to prove that I am eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine providers have been alerted that patients can verbally self-attest that they are eligible based on the eligibility guidance listed above for each vaccine. There is no requirement for a written self-attestation form.

Q: Can I mix and match vaccines for my booster shot?

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different vaccine for their booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots

Q:Am I fully vaccinated without a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

Yes, people who got a two-dose vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot are considered fully vaccinated — even without a booster. CDC says you’re fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the J&J and as of 10/22/21 the CDC confirmed this definition is still accurate and has not changed.

The vaccines offer strong protection against serious illness, but health officials now recommend boosters for some people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 based on evidence that protection against milder disease can wane, especially among older adults.

Q: What if I have lost my vaccination card? How is this third shot documented?

All vaccine doses that are administrations must be documented in the Louisiana Immunization Network (LINKS) within 24 hours of vaccination AND on the person’s CDC COVID-19 Vaccination card. If they don’t have their old card, a new card containing just the administered booster dose, clearly marked as such, will be provided to the individual.

Workforce Related Questions

Q: When can I return to working in the office?

Individual businesses are making decisions about when and how their workforce can return. Check with your employer for specific guidance about your job. The Louisiana Department of Health has developed guidance for employers and employees of essential businesses about safely returning to work. The guidance is on www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. Click on Guidance & Resources.

Q: Does my employer have access to my vaccination records?

No, vaccination records, like all medical records, are available only to the patient, the individual’s healthcare provider and to select other public health officials.

Q:  Is there any guidance to help workplaces re-open safely?

Yes, the State Fire Marshall has developed the Open Safely website. On this site, you can find guidance for the following businesses/activities: Outdoor Sports, General Businesses, Fitness Center/Health Clubs, Libraries, Movie Theaters, Museums/Zoos/Aquariums, Places of Worship, Restaurants and Salons/Barber Shops.

Also, CDC has developed a comprehensive list of questions and answers, guidance and support for businesses as they begin to plan how to safely reopen. See this website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html  On the page is information about:

Q: When can someone who had COVID-19 symptoms return to work?

A person who has COVID-19 symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 and/or consult with a healthcare provider. If the test result is positive they should stay home until the following criteria are met before returning to work:

•   Fever free with no medications for 24 hours, AND

•   Symptoms improve, AND

•   10 days have passed since EITHER the first symptom appeared OR the date their positive test was administered (whichever comes first) AND

•   Notify close contacts

•   Continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing around others for 14 days

If no test result or healthcare provider evaluation has confirmed COVID-19, then they should complete the isolation criteria listed above. People should check with their employer about returning to work with documentation per their company policy.

Q:  When can a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who had been caring for themselves at home return?

If a person tests positive they need to isolate and stay home until the following criteria are met before returning to work:

•   Fever free with no medications for 24 hours, AND

•   Symptoms improve, AND

•   10 days have passed since EITHER the first symptom appeared OR  the date their positive test was administered (whichever comes first) AND

•   Notify close contacts

•   Continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing around others for 14 days

People should check with their employer about returning to work with documentation per their company policy.

Q:  When can a person who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 but did not have any symptoms return to work?

If a person tests positive and has so far not experienced symptoms they still need to isolate and stay home until the following criteria are met before returning to work:

   10 days have passed since EITHER the first symptom appeared OR the date their positive test was administered (whichever comes first) AND

   Notify close contacts

   Continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing around others for 14 days.

People should check with their employer about returning to work with documentation per their company policy.

Q. If a person has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 what should they do and when can they return to work?

Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to be tested as soon as possible. If they test negative they should repeat the test 5-7 days post-exposure. Fully vaccinated people do not need to stay home from work or quarantine after exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, but must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing around others for 14 days following last exposure and they must isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.

If an unvaccinated person has been exposed to COVID-19 they need to seek a test as soon as possible and quarantine immediately for 10 days. If they test negative they should repeat the test 5-7 days post-exposure. If they have another negative test they can return to work 10 days after exposure if they have no symptoms.

At-home tests cannot be used to shorten quarantine. They must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing around others 14 days following last exposure and they must isolate and get tested again if symptoms develop.

If they test positive then they can return to work after 10 days have passed since EITHER the first symptom appeared OR the date their positive test was administered (whichever comes first) – please refer to above questions for additional symptomatic and positive COVID-19 return to work guidance

 

People should check with their employer about returning to work with documentation per their company policy.

Q: How should employees communicate with other employees that they may have been exposed because of another employee without violating HIPPA?

Any person can self-report their own health status to others. People who tested positive or are aware of a known or suspect exposure to a person who tested positive to COVID-19 should notify their close contacts so they can be tested and/or consult with their physician and also quarantine if they are not vaccinated. However, people should refrain from discussing the health status of others. Medical professionals cannot discuss another person’s health status without being in violation of privacy laws.

 

Q: How long should an employer tell an employee to stay isolated if other employees in the workplace have COVID-19 symptoms?

Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people who been exposed to someone in the work place by someone who has COVID-19 should be tested as soon as possible. If they test negative they should repeat the test 5-7 days post-exposure.

Fully vaccinate people do not need to stay home from work and quarantine after exposure, but must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing around others for 14 days following last exposure and they must isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.

Unvaccinated people who have another negative test after 5-7 days post-exposure can return to work 7 days after exposure if they have no symptoms and those who did not have a repeat test can return to work 10 days after exposure if they have no symptoms.

If they test positive then they can return to work after 10 days have passed since EITHER the first symptom appeared OR the date their positive test was administered (whichever comes first) – please refer to above questions for additional symptomatic and positive COVID-19 return to work guidance.

Employers  can also choose to implement a 14-day quarantine.

Q: What do I do if my employer demands I get tested for COVID-19 if I was sick?

There are different rules/laws for private and public employers. In state government, an employee may be placed on sick leave and be required to stay home if he/she is ill for any reason. In the private sector, the employee should follow the directive of their employer.

Q: Can funeral services be held for someone who died of COVID-19?

A funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19. Funeral home workers should follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a decedent who died of COVID-19.

The Louisiana Department of Health has posted additional guidance about funerals and the proper handling of decedents who have had COVID-19 at www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. Just click on Guidance & Resources.

Q:  How do I file for an unemployment claim?

Visit www.louisianaworks.net/hire or call the Claim Center at 1- 866-783-5567

Q: Will unemployment benefits and/or a stimulus check as a result of COVID-19 public health emergency be used in determining Louisiana Medicaid Long Term Care eligibility or continued eligibility?

No.  Louisiana Medicaid Long Term Care or waiver recipients who received an additional $600 weekly unemployment benefits and or a stimulus check under the CARES Act are exempt from this income being counted as a resource for 12 months after they receive it.

Q: What is the updated guidance to private early learning centers?

The Louisiana Dept. of Education provides COVID-19 FAQs for Early Childhood Providers at this link: COVID-19 FAQ for Early Childhood Providers

Given the risk for transmission of the virus causing COVID-19 in group or congregate settings, centers must follow the below guidance in order to remain in operation:

Q: Is it a responsibility of employers to report positive test results of employees to LDH?

No. Test results do not need to be reported to LDH by employers.

Q: The only way I can get to work is on public transportation and that doesn’t feel particularly safe to me right now. Can that be grounds for continuing to work at home?

Hard to say. Generally, the workplace is your employer’s responsibility; how you get there is yours. If you use public transportation, the CDC advises you to:

   Practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Wash your hands before and right after your ride, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.

   Practice social distancing. During travel, try to keep at least 6 feet from people who are not in your household.

   Wear cloth face coverings when physical distancing is difficult.

Q: What can a business do if an employee is refusing to return to work?

Individual businesses are now making decisions about when and how their workforce can return. Check with your employer for specific guidance about your job. Employees follow the directives of their employer. In a situation in which an employee is refusing to return to work, the employer can make a report to the Louisiana Workforce Commission using the online form found at: https://www2.laworks.net/CARESact/UI_ROW_Create.asp?fbclid=IwAR2jzevs2ao-_aSoXiHvECs8As3wyBLU7wh801wLob1VkBTQI1RVDo2EODQ

Q: I have an employee who tested positive. Do I need to notify customers or clients?

If the employee with the positive test had close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes over a 24 hour time period) with any customers or clients, those individuals will be contacted by a contact tracer with the Louisiana Department of Health. The contact tracer will ask questions about employee’s health status, where they have traveled, who else they have been in contact with during the time the person was contagious. The contact tracer will then notify any close contacts that they have been exposed to the virus.

The positive employee may also call the contact tracers if they have not yet received a call at 1-877-766-2130. Employers should also proactively follow recommendations to make sure any ill employees stay home and close contacts of an employee who is positive for COVID-19 quarantine at home for 14 days.

Q: Will my business be contacted by the Department of Health if one of my employees tests positive?

Not necessarily. The Louisiana Department of Health’s contact tracers will only contact the individual who tested positive and that person’s close contacts (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour time period). If a place of business has two more positive employees, public health may follow-up to provide prevention recommendations. Each business can implement their own reporting requirements for their employees. Typical requirements include notification of the employer by the employee if that person tested positive for COVID-19 or if that person was exposed to someone with COVID-19. Employers should also proactively follow recommendations to make sure any ill employees stay home and close contacts of an employee who is positive for COVID-19 quarantine at home for 14 days.

Q: Are employers required to notify employees if one employee tested positive for COVID-19?

No, there is no law or CDC guidance that requires an employer to notify others that someone else has tested positive for the virus. Each business can implement their own reporting requirements for their employees. Typical requirements include notification of the employer by the employee if that person tested positive for COVID-19 or if that person was exposed to someone with COVID-19. Employers should also proactively follow recommendations to make sure any ill employees stay home and close contacts of an employee who is positive for COVID-19 quarantine at home for 14 days. The Louisiana Department of Health’s contact tracers will only contact an individual who tested positive and that person’s close contacts (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour time period), which may include co-workers. If a place of business has two more positive employees, public health may follow-up to provide prevention recommendations.

Q: Are employers required to pay employees who must quarantine due to testing positive for COVID?

The decision to pay or not pay employees or require them to use sick or annual leave for time off to quarantine is at the discretion of each individual employer. Please check with your company for their policy.

SCHOOLS and CHILDREN

Q: What is the status of schools in Louisiana and in-person classes resuming later this summer/fall?

State Level Information: For the most up-to-date information about schools and education-specific questions at the state level, the Department of Education has established a special email address: LDOECOVID19Support@la.gov

Local School Districts: We encourage you to contact your child’s school or school district for the most up-to-date local information.

Q: When can my child or when can I as a teacher/staff return to school after being exposed, having symptoms or being sick with COVID-19?

The Louisiana Department of Education has developed extensive guidelines for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. The guidelines are listed at this link: Ready to Achieve 2021-2022 School Operational Guidelines that is found on the Louisiana Department of Education’s website Louisiana Believes. All of the information about when to stay home for a COVID-19 exposure or illness and when to return to school are outlined.

Parents should also discuss and follow the specific guidelines of your student’s school.

Q: What about a child who was exposed to their parents who are COVID positive, but the child is unable to isolate in the home. What is the guidance in this situation regarding quarantine and return to school?

 The child must stay home from school during the parents' isolation period.

If the child gets sick during this period, then the child needs to follow the protocol for a positive case that their parents follow:

Self-isolation may end when at least 24 hours have passed since recovery, meaning:

If the child test positive, but does not have symptoms they may discontinue self-isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

If the child does not get sick (or test positive) during the parents isolation period, the child’s quarantine begins the day AFTER his/her parents last day of isolation.

For example, if a parent tests positive today, the parent must stay in isolation for 10 days. The child would stay home during this 10 days, then begin their quarantine on day #11. The student should follow the school’s recommendation for quarantine, which may be a full 14 day quarantine or may include the shortened quarantine options below:

Q: Does the mask mandate apply to all K-12 Schools – public and private?

Yes, Beginning August 4, 2021, all people ages 5 and above (or enrolled in kindergarten) - vaccinated and unvaccinated – are mandated to wear face masks while indoors. This applies to all K-12 schools.

Q: What is the updated guidance to private early learning centers?

The Louisiana Dept. of Education provides updated COVID-19 FAQs for Early Childhood Providers at this link: Child Care Guidelines. Some of the guidelines include:

If COVID-19 is confirmed in a child or staff member:

Mask Requirements and Recommendations

Q: Are students or staff required to wear a mask or other face coverings?

Yes. Beginning August 4, 2021, all people ages 5 and above - vaccinated and unvaccinated – are mandated to wear face masks while indoors. This applies to K-12 schools, universities, and other higher education institutions, which return to on-campus learning in August. In accordance with new guidance from the CDC, all people on campuses should be masked indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

Q: Should I be concerned about sending my kids back to in-person school this fall? What does the state recommend to parents?

The Louisiana Department of Health is working closely with the Department of Education for recommendations to ensure children can return to school safely. Ultimately, all decisions about guidance and requirements for returning safely to school will be made by local school districts and independent schools. Keeping children safe includes making sure close contacts of a positive case quarantine to prevent further transmission.

The state issued a new mask mandate effective 8/4/2021 that also applies to K-12 schools, to help reduce the spread of the Delta variant among children as they return to school this fall.

Q: Can children still get school meals if not attending in-person?

Yes, according to the Governor’s order. It requires schools to use appropriate social distancing and masking measures, and continue to provide meals or other essential services with applicable staff. You should contact your child’s school for specific instructions.

Q: How can I pick up meals from my child's school? Does the child need to be present for the parent to pick up the meal(s)

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has published a parish-by-parish list of school meal sites to let families know where, when and how free food can be accessed.

The list is available on the Dept. Of Education’s website: www.louisianabelieves.com 

For the most up-to-date information about schools and how school meal sites logistics work, please contact your child’s school district.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C

Q:  What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C?

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.

We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.

Q:  Are there any cases of MIS-C in Louisiana?

Yes, on May 27, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 13 cases including one death from MIS-C in Louisiana. The patients range in age from 0-19 years of age. The Department will update information on MIS-C each Monday on its coronavirus webpage.

Q:  What are the symptoms of MIS-C?

Not all children will have all of the same symptoms. Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C.

Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

Q:  Where can I get more information about MIS-C?

The CDC has added information about MIS-C to its coronavirus website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/mis-c.html:

The CDC has a team that is working with U.S. and international scientists, healthcare providers, and other partners to learn more about this new syndrome. As CDC investigates each new MIS-C case,  information is sent to healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

SYMPTOMS

Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. 

The following are the symptoms according to the CDC:

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: How does COVID-19 compare to influenza in terms of symptoms, mortality rate, number of cases, etc.?

Based on what is known, COVID -19 is at least as severe, if not more serious than flu.   Much is unknown about COVID-19 about how easily it spreads, who most is at risk.

 

From preliminary studies, people who are most at-risk for a serious illness from COVID-19 are: People over age 60 who also have underlying medical conditions.

Q: Can you contract both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

It is possible to have both the coronavirus and the flu at the same time.

Q: Is vomiting a symptom of COVID-19?

A new study reports that some people who get the coronavirus will, in very rare instances, experience digestive symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. However, the primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Q: Is the loss of the ability to smell or pink eye symptoms of COVID-19?

The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 are new, and we are still learning about the virus. For these symptoms and others, always contact your primary care physician for guidance.

Q: What should I do if I have lost my sense of smell and taste?

For this and all other medical conditions, the Louisiana Department of Health recommends that you seek advice from your primary care physician.

Q: How long should a person stay isolated if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive COVID-19 test? If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive COVID-19 test, you should stay isolated until the following criteria are met:

If you have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 “close contact,” you should quarantine for 14 days from the day of exposure and monitor for symptoms. You must isolate for the full 14-days. Getting a COVID-19 test will not interrupt this quarantine period as it takes between 4 to 10 days for the virus to take hold in the body.

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

TREATMENT

Q: What is monoclonal antibody therapy?

If you test positive for COVID-19 and develop mild to moderate symptoms you can receive this therapy without having to go to the hospital. Monoclonal antibodies have also been authorized as a preventive therapy for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are at high risk of hospitalization or death. In situations where people are unable to get the COVID vaccination, monoclonal antibody therapy can be administered to adults and youth 12 years of age and older. For those who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, getting the shot is the best way to protect against the virus.

Q: Who can receive monoclonal antibody therapy?

Monoclonal antibodies have received FDA authorization for use during the pandemic. They may be used for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who meet all of the following:

Q: What does “high risk” for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization mean?

Please consult with your physician to determine if you are “high risk”. The following medical conditions or other factors may place adults and pediatric patients (Age 12-17 years and weighing at least 40 kg) at higher risk for progression to severe COVID-19:

•        Older age (age ≥65 years of age)

•        Obesity or being overweight (BMI >25 kg/m2, or if age 12-17, have BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts, https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/clinical_charts.htm)

•        Pregnancy

•        Chronic kidney disease

•        Diabetes

•        Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment

•        Cardiovascular disease (including congenital heart disease) or hypertension

•        Chronic lung diseases (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension)

•        Sickle cell disease

•        Neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy) or other conditions that confer medical complexity (e.g., genetic or metabolic syndromes and severe congenital anomalies)

•        Having a medical-related technological dependence (e.g., tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation not related to COVID 19

Q: How do I find a monoclonal antibody provider/location?

People need to contact and be referred by their doctor or other healthcare provider to a facility that offers monoclonal antibody therapy such as a hospital or an infusion center. The federal government has developed a searchable national map that show locations of facilities that have received monoclonal antibody shipments. See this link:  Therapeutics Distribution | HHS Protect Public Data Hub. A call center is available to answer questions and provide information related to monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments at 1-877-332-6585 (English Language); 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish Language).

Q:  Is hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug, effective in treating COVID-19?

As of June, 2020, based on ongoing analysis and emerging scientific data, FDA has revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients when a clinical trial is unavailable or participation is not feasible. FDA made this determination based on results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery. This outcome was consistent with other new data, including those showing the suggested dosing for these medicines are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result, FDA determined that the legal criteria for the EUA was no longer met.

Q. Is it safe to take ibuprofen to treat symptoms of COVID-19?

CDC is currently not aware of scientific evidence establishing a link between NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen) and worsening of COVID 19.

The World Health Organization, CDC and others continue to monitor the situation and will review new information as it becomes available. For those who wish to use treatment options other than NSAIDs, there are other over-the-counter and prescription medications approved for pain relief and fever reduction. Patients should speak to their healthcare provider for individualized management.

Q: Should I go to the ER?  Or, when should I go to the ER?

You should go to the ER if you are seriously ill (difficulty breathing, confusion, dehydrated). If you are sick with typical cold or flu symptoms, call your primary care doctor.

PREVENTION

Q: I have not had COVID symptoms. I will be traveling to visit family and I don’t want to expose them. What should I do?

Q:  Is the Department of Health providing exemptions - a form or letter - to people who do not want to use a mask when going to the doctor’s office or other places that require a face covering?

No, there is no such form or letter from the Louisiana Department of Health. LDH encourages all people to follow the masking and social distancing requirements put in place by any place of business, including medical facilities.

Q: Do masks with valves offer the same protection as standard, cloth face coverings?

Actually, no. Valved masks prevent things from coming in, but don’t prevent things going out. Since we are trying to block the spread of water droplets out, masks with valves do not provide this protection.

Q: I have a mask with an exhalation valve. If I block the valve will my mask be as safe or safer than a cloth mask?

Yes. By blocking the valve, that mask is now is equivalent to a cloth mask

Q: If you wear a mask with a filter do you need to wear two masks?

The goal of the new CDC recommendation to consider wearing two masks is a strategy to better protect the person wearing the mask and others. CDC made two recommendations. One is to wear a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask. The second is to improve the fit of a single surgical mask by tightening the ear loops to get a snugger fit. The goal is to decrease the chance of the virus escaping because of a loosely-fitting mask.

If you already wear a mask with a filter and want to achieve the added benefit, you should also wear a good-fitting surgical mask under your other mask.

Q: When is someone considered to have recovered?

A person is considered recovered when it has been:

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: Is eating takeout or home-delivered food safe?

Yes. The USDA, CDC and FDA all say that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food, transmission from containers is unlikely. But, it’s a good idea to throw out the food containers to be sure, and wash your hands

 

Set the food containers on a clean countertop. Then, wash your hands. Next, get some containers of your own — dishes if you’re eating it now or Tupperware if you’re going to store it for a few days — and transfer the food with clean utensils.

Q: Will the State be contacting every COVID-19 suspected or confirmed case?

The State has started a contact tracing program where trained interviewers talk to people by phone who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. These public health workers ask questions to determine who else they may have recently been in close contact with (within 6 feet for 15 minutes over a 24 hour time period). They then contact those people who may have been exposed, and encourage them to quarantine themselves for 14 days to prevent spreading the disease any further.

Contacts are only informed they may have been exposed to the virus. They are not told the identity of the person who may have exposed them. This is done in the interest of personal privacy.

Q: What is the best way to use a cloth mask?

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores, garden stores, pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

 

Cloth masks should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a cloth face covering.

 

To safely remove a used cloth face covering, people should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing.

Q: What is social distancing and how does it work?

Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming into close contact with healthy people in order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission.

Recommended distancing is 6 feet.

Social distancing slows the outbreak to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations and to reduce the burden on our health care system and workers.

If we do this right, we can reduce the number of people with disease and reduce the number of people needing hospitalization and ventilators at any one time.  

 Q:  What is social distancing (safe zone)?

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

Q. Is there special guidance for people who are deaf or blind?

Q: Are we most concerned about older, high risk people, not young, healthy folks?

While those who are older and those who have underlying chronic medical conditions – meaning lung disease, heart disease and diabetes – are at the greatest risk, everyone, including people who are young and healthy, can be exposed to and spread COVID-19 to others.

Q. Should I cancel my travel plans?

If you have a trip planned, check the CDC’s site for a risk assessment of your destination.

If you travel, take the same precautions you would while home to avoid getting sick or spreading germs including washing your hands thoroughly and often and avoiding contact with sick people.

Q: Is it OK to use laundry facilities?

Yes. Just be sure to take basic precautions including:

Q: Is standard laundry detergent enough to disinfect clothing and prevent spread of the virus?

Yes. You can launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard the gloves after each use.

Q: Coronavirus is noted on Lysol bottles. Why is COVID-19 categorized as new if listed on old Lysol bottles? Should the public expect any new commercially available disinfectant products to address COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses, and they are not new.

There were six existing strains of coronavirus before 2019, some of which cause the common cold. The latest strain, however, is nCoV-2019 (COVID-19) which originated in 2019.

Lysol bottles are not referencing the latest COVID-19, but instead the coronaviruses that cause the common cold. There is no reason to believe, though, that Lysol is not effective for COVID-19, so please use it!

Q: For a halfway house, what precautions should be taken for/by new residents?

New and current residents should follow the Governor’s stay at home order which directs people to avoid going out in public unless it is absolutely necessary, such as getting groceries, food and medications.

Residents are encouraged to go outside and to stay active during this time, as long as they practice social distancing (at least 6 feet of physical space from other people) when they are around their neighbors and practice good hygiene by washing hands often and well with soap and water.

If a new resident has symptoms, they should not interact with other residents for 14 days and until they are symptom-free. Create a place in the home where that person can be isolated from others.

Q: What precautions should be taken to admit new residents to group homes?

Watch for symptoms. For confirmed infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms (similar to the common cold) to people being severely ill or dying. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

If a new resident has symptoms, they should not interact with other residents for 14 days and until they are symptom-free. Create a place in the home where that person can be isolated from others.

If a resident falls ill, make sure they contact their doctor immediately.

Q:  Should I wear gloves to protect myself from the coronavirus? Do they offer any added protection?

Although gloves do create a barrier between the virus and your hands, they are not recommended for general, everyday use. There are several reasons why gloves might make you less safe.

Wearing gloves might cause you to practice worse hand hygiene because you keep wearing the now-dirty gloves instead of washing your hands.

You are just as likely to touch your face with or without a glove.

Since most phones cannot be controlled with gloved fingers, you are likely to take the gloves off and on to use your phone. Doing this will then contaminate your hands when you remove the glove.

Q:  Why, then, are gloves used in healthcare settings?

Remember, gloves are a barrier between your hands and the virus. When healthcare workers use them, gloves are disposed of immediately after each use. Healthcare workers are taught how to remove gloves safely, dispose of them and wash their hands afterward.

The most important precaution taken by healthcare workers, and the practice we all should follow, is to practice good hand hygiene.

TRANSMISSION

Q. How does COVID-19 spread?

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads.

 

Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

Q:  If a person tested positive for COVID-19 can they be re-infected?

There is evidence to suggest that some people have contracted the virus a second time. This means that all people – even those who have already had the illness – should remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions.

Q: Can pets get COVID-19?

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is not considered a threat to dogs and cats, and pets do not play a role in transmission of the virus to people.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. It is rare for an animal to infect people and then spread between people such as with recent outbreaks of MERS and SARS.  

Q: Do mosquitoes carry COVID-19/Can the virus be transmitted through mosquitoes?

No. COVID-19 is not transmitted by mosquitoes.

Q. How long can the virus stay on leather/cloth surfaces?

Studies suggest that coronavirus can survive on metal for up to five days on glass for four to five days, and plastic for up to nine days, according to a recent study by the Journal of Hospital Infection. The same studies show coronavirus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard.

 

It is not clear yet, but the virus may have a shorter lifespan on fabrics than on hard surfaces.

Q: Is it safe to receive a package from an area where COVID-19 has been reported?

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

Q: How long can the virus live on food from restaurants?
The coronavirus can be spread in a public restaurant as it can be spread in any public space. If you’re about to eat, wash your hands. Wash your hands after using the restroom. If you’re concerned about the cleanliness of your table, ask the server to wipe it down for you.

Remember that COVID-19 is spread from person to person. If there is an infected person in that space then both person-to-person transmission can occur as well as transmission from a contaminated surface if someone touches it and then touches their face.

Q: Should I wipe down things purchased from stores? How long can the virus live on hard surfaces?

Studies suggest that coronavirus can survive on metal for up to five days on glass for four to five days, and plastic for up to nine days, according to a recent study by the Journal of Hospital Infection. The same studies show coronavirus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard.

 

It is not clear yet, but the virus may have a shorter lifespan on fabrics than on hard surfaces.

Q: What are the best items to use to clean surfaces and protect from COVID-19?

COVID-19 does not require any unique cleaning chemicals to disinfect surfaces. Soap and water works, and you can use an alcohol-based wipe. Baby wipes may not be effective.

Q: Am I at risk if I go to a funeral or visitation service for someone who died of COVID-19?

There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health has posted additional guidance about funerals and the proper handling of decedents who have had COVID-19 at www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. Just click on Guidance & Resources.

Q: Where can I get information concerning the safety of the senior living  apartment where I live. One of the managers is sick and has tested positive for COVID-19.

All residential care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities) follow strict guidance for the isolation of residents with COVID-19, staffing and testing requirements and reporting requirements. Apartments, including those that serve seniors, are not required to follow the same requirements.

Those who live in apartments should take the necessary personal precautions to protect themselves including staying at home as much as possible, practicing good hygiene, keep at least 6 feet apart from others and wear a mask when leaving your apartment. If you feel sick, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Q. What about women who are pregnant?

Based on what we know now pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women. Additionally, someone who is pregnant and has COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.

There might be limitations/additional guidance or mandates for visitors during labor and delivery. We are encouraging hospitals to prepare patients for this ahead of admission.

Q: Can a breastfeeding mother with COVID pass the virus to their baby?

The transmission of the COVID-19 virus through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected. While breastfeeding, a mother should still implement appropriate hygiene measures, including wearing a medical mask if available, to reduce the possibility of droplets with COVID-19 being spread to her infant.

Q: Are people diagnosed with HIV+ also at higher risk for contracting COVID-19?

People with compromised immune systems, including cancer patients and people with HIV/AIDS, are at a higher risk from the coronavirus.

Q. What precautions are nursing homes and assisted living facilities taking?

Nursing homes, assisted living centers and other similar healthcare facilities have the authority to restrict entry to people, including family members and friends of residents, during this health crisis.

People are advised to contact individual facilities for restrictions and recommendations that have been put in place at that location.

SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES AND WHO ARE AGING

Q:  I have a disability and can’t leave my home. How do I get tested?

The Department of Health has an online link to testing sites at www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. Click on the testing site tab to find a nearby location.

 

If you have Medicaid, your managed care organization can arrange transportation to a test site. If you do not have Medicaid, check with your primary care provider for an order for a home health agency to come out and take the swab for testing.

 

You can also call 225-342-0095 Monday through Friday 8:00-4:30 to talk with someone directly, or leave a message outside business hours.

 

Q:  I receive disability services through the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) and I have questions regarding changes to those services during the COVID-19 emergency. Who do I contact regarding this?

 

Email OCDD-HCBS@la.gov, and someone will respond to your question.

 

Call OCDD 225-342-0095 Monday through Friday 8:00-4:30 to talk with someone directly, or leave a message outside business hours.

 

Q:  I provide disability services through the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD), and I have questions regarding the changes in services during the COVID-19 emergency.  Who should I contact with these questions?

 

Email OCDD-HCBS@la.gov, and someone will respond to your question.

 

Call OCDD Monday through Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm to speak with someone, or leave a message outside business hours.

 

Q: I have questions about the services I receive through the state’s Office of Aging. Who do I call or contact for information?

People who have questions can call or email the Office of Aging and Adult Services at:

Phone: 1-866-758-5035

Email:: OAAS.Inquiries@la.gov

 

Q:  I run a community home for people with developmental disabilities. We have a resident who has been hospitalized for COVID-19 and is now being sent home.  We do not have the facilities for the resident to have a private room or bathroom. How do we provide care during the resident’s 14 day quarantine?

The Louisiana Department of Health has issued guidance about the release of patients into nursing facilities, and has also issued guidance about safely supporting someone in quarantine. Go to LDH’s COVID-19 website and click “Provider Information,” and the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities COVID-19 Information page for additional guidance.

 Q: My agency provides in-home support to people with developmental disabilities. It is not possible to remain 6 feet away from clients while assisting them. A person that my agency provides support to has tested positive for COVID, and they have returned home. How can my staff and the people we support remain safe in this situation?

OCDD has issued guidance about how to stay safe during quarantine. This information has been placed on the website under COVID-19 Information. Additionally, LDH has a Provider Information page to give guidance to providers regarding safety measures to put in place while providing in-home support.

Q: Are assisted living residents allowed to come and go off premises as they please?

The CDC has developed extensive guidance for nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities. These include recommendations about if and when a resident should leave the facility, limits on visitation, restricting volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel, canceling all group activities and communal dining. To protect their residents, all long-term care facilities in Louisiana have implemented these recommendations.

Q: Have the requirements for how often staff and residents are tested changed?

Louisiana strongly recommends testing staff a minimum of once per week, and testing residents once per week unless there have been no positive tests for 14 days.

VISITATION

Q: I would like to visit my mother in her nursing home. I am told I cannot do this in her own room. When will I be allowed to visit with her in her room?

The Louisiana Department of Health is following guidance from the CDC that was updated in March. The guidance allows for on-site visits of nursing home residents inside and outside. The inside guidance reads as follows:

 Facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents (regardless of vaccination status), except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission (note: compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times).

 The scenarios that limit indoor visitation are:

Q: Is a nursing facility required to have no positive COVID 19 tests for 14 days before allowing for outdoor visitation?

According to CMS guidance, a recommendation of 14 days without a positive test is for indoor visitation only.  If there is an outbreak at the facility, we would expect that your visitation policies and procedures would include all necessary infection control practices.   CMS guidance does acknowledge that outdoor visitation is safer than indoor visitation.  It is expected that each facility will give due diligence to limiting exposure of the virus.

Q: Is it accurate that if a nursing facility has gone 14 days with no resident testing positive for COVID 19, you can have indoor visitation with making, social distancing and other proper infection control procedures in place?

Louisiana expects all nursing facilities to follow the most recent CMS guidance regarding visitation.  CMS clearly states in the guidance that outdoor visitation is safer than indoor visitation.

Q: Can nursing facilities limit the number of visitors, times of visitation and duration of visits?

Louisiana expects all nursing facilities to follow the most recent CMS guidance (referenced above) regarding visitation.  Health Standards will review visitation policies and procedures to assure compliance with the CMS guidance and will expect that the policies protect the health of the residents.  Knowing who visitors are and when they were in a facility will prove to be useful information should tracing be necessary.

Q: Will nursing facility visitation be allowed in all parishes or will approval of visitation be tied to parish positivity rate?

The most recent CMS guidance suggests the use of community positivity rate when determining rather or not indoor visitation is safe and appropriate.  There is no mention of the use of positivity rates for implementation of outdoor visitation.

Q: Can children be allowed as visitors to nursing facilities?

The CMS guidance does not provide any concrete recommendations regarding children.  Louisiana would expect that the nursing facilities visitation policies and procedure would provide for the age of allowed visitors.

Q: Can nursing facilities all visitation for new residents are in quarantine?

A person newly admitted to the facility can pose a risk to others in the facility and to visitors unless it is known that the person is COVID 19 negative.  Although the HHS guidance does not address this specifically, Louisiana expects each facility to practice prudent infection control at all times.

Q: If there is a COVID 19 outbreak in a facility, can the nursing facility stop all visitation?

Yes, if the nursing facility believes that residents could be placed in an unsafe situation, the nursing facility should act accordingly.  Prudent Infection control is expected of each nursing facility, and the safety of residents is paramount.

GENERAL

Q: Are nursing facilities expected to adhere fully to the HHS guidance, including allowing for communal dining and other activities outlined on page 6 or the September 17, 2020 guidance?

Louisiana expects that all nursing facilities will follow the guidance set forth by HHS.  However, Louisiana will expect that prudent infection control will be consistently practiced.

CONTRACT TRACING

Q:  What is contact tracing? Is this being done in Louisiana?

Contact tracing is underway in Louisiana. It is a type of disease investigation. Trained interviewers talk to people who have been diagnosed with the virus and ask questions to determine who else they may have recently been in contact with. Then, they find those people who may have been exposed, and encourage them to quarantine themselves to prevent spreading the disease any further.

For more information, go to: http://ldh.la.gov/ContactTracing.

Q:  How do I apply for a contact tracing job?

Contact tracers must have graduated high school, feel comfortable having a telephone conversation with someone and also entering data. They must be compassionate, able to protect and honor patient privacy, and complete a very detailed training session. To apply, email ContactTracing@La.gov.

Q: How do employers know the validity of letters/emails sent by a contact tracer to a person who has been told to quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19?

When a contact tracer notifies a person they have been exposed, they can request to receive an email from the contact tracer with a letter the person can provide to their employer. The letter will be on the official State of Louisiana letterhead.

Q: Will a contact tracer initiate contact with an individual by email or mail?

No, all contacts by contact tracers are initiated by text message from the number 225-396-5385 or by phone call from the number 1-877-766-2130.

 However, after this phone contact has been made, the person who has been exposed may require proof of the exposure for their employer. The contact can request a letter that they can give to their employer verifying they have been told to self-quarantine.

 In addition, if a person is not successfully reached by phone, a letter may be sent to the individual by public health asking them to call.

Q: I received an email or mailed letter regarding contact tracing but no one has called me.  Why did this happen?

If an individual receives a letter from the Louisiana Department of Health, they should call the number back that was provided in the letter, which would be 1-877-766-2130 or a local Office of Public Health phone number.

 Please provide guidance on how you want 211 to handle calls where a caller is inquiring about another person’s mail or email.

Same as above, if an individual receives a letter from the Louisiana Department of Health, they should call the number back that was provided in the letter, which would be 1-877-766-2130 or a local Office of Public Health phone number.

Q:  How do I apply for a contact tracing job?

LDH has partnered with four local call centers and one local community-based organization to hire for positions related to contact tracing. To learn more about these available positions and upload your resume, please visit the employment portal at covidjobs.la.gov. Applications are being reviewed as quickly as possible according to the hiring needs of the call centers. All hiring and HR decisions will be made by the call centers and community-based organizations that are supporting the project.

Q:  How does contact tracing work?

A contact tracer is a public health worker who attempts to identify all people who were exposed to someone with COVID-19. This is how it works:

Q:  Who is considered to be a close contact?

A close contact is a person who was within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour time period starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the infected patient is isolated.

Q: I tested positive but have not received a call from the contact tracer, what should I do?

Anyone who has recently tested positive but has not received a call from the contact tracing team can call 1-877-766-2130 to receive guidance and identify others who might have been exposed so that they can be notified of their exposure and prevent the illness from spreading.

Q:  I received a call or message from a contact tracer. Why do they want to talk to me?

 The Louisiana Department of Health has a team of contract tracers who call anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 and anyone who might have been in close contact with someone known to have tested positive. If someone you know or have been in close contact with has tested positive, the contact tracing team will call you to see how you are feeling, if you are having any symptoms, offer support for getting tested, and provide information on how to self-quarantine.

Q:  What is a COVID-19 hotspot?

A hotspot is an area of the state in which there is a high number ofCOVID-19 cases. These are determined by looking at the percent of positive tests in a given area. Areas with more than 10% positive tests out of total tests are considered hot spots.

Q:  What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick to prevent transmission to others. Quarantine separates and limits the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick, and prevent transmission to others.

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: How do I know if the contact tracer is from the Louisiana Department of Health and not a fraud or scammer trying to ask me personal questions?

The official Louisiana contact tracers will identify themselves as being from the Louisiana Department of Health. The caller ID on the phone should show “LA Health Dept.” They will never ask you about your finances or other personal information. They will never ask you to buy any gift cards, or ask your banking information or social security number. If someone asks you any of these questions, hang up right away and do not give this information.

Q:  Will a contact tracer initiate contact with an individual by email or mail?

No, all contacts by tracer are initiated by phone using the number 1-877-766-2130.

However, after this phone contact has been made, the person who has been exposed may require proof of the exposure for their employer. The contact can request a letter that they can give to their employer verifying they have been told to self-quarantine.

Q:  I received an email or mailed letter regarding contact tracing but no one has called me.  Why did this happen?

You should not get a letter or an email before having spoken with a contact tracer. If this occurred, you should call the contact tracing team at 1-877-766-2130. There should not be an instance where a letter or email is received without having first spoken with a contact tracer.

Q:  My doctor has not contacted me about my test results but I got a call from someone wanting to know about my whereabouts. Do I have to talk to them before I receive my results?  Do I have to talk to them at all?

Sometimes the health department will get positive test results from a lab and call that person before their doctor gets a chance to call them with the results. The health department tries to call people as soon possible in order to share information about how to keep the illness from spreading to others. You can always ask the contact tracer to call you back after you’ve had a chance to call your doctor. You will not be required to speak to the health department about your results. However, we strongly encourage you to speak with the Louisiana Department of Health, because this is an important way to help keep yourself and others safe and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Q:  Will the information I share with the contact tracer be kept confidential?

Yes. The health department contacts people who test positive and their close contacts. The health department will not tell the contacts who tested positive or where they may have been when exposed, they will only share the date they were exposed. All information is kept private.

Q:  If I don’t get contacted by a contact tracer, is that a sign that I have NOT come in contact with anyone who tested positive for Covid-19?

Unfortunately, no. You may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive, but they did not realize they were in close contact with you or they forgot to tell the contact tracing team. You may also have come in contact with someone who had a COVID-19 infection, but did not get tested. If you believe you may have been exposed in some way, take reasonable precautions to self-quarantine and call your primary care provider.

Q: I was recently contacted by someone claiming to be a contact tracer employed by the Louisiana Department of Health. I was asked for my financial information, information about my health coverage and other personal information. Is this legitimate?

Contact tracers employed by LDH will only ask you for your first and last name and your date of birth to confirm that you are the person they intended to call. They will not ask for any financial information, social security numbers  or health insurance information. If someone claiming to be employed by LDH does ask for that, immediately hang up and call 877-766-2130 to be connected with LDH’s contact tracers.

Q: I don’t believe that the person calling me is someone employed by the Louisiana Department of Health. What should I do?

If you have any suspicions about the identity of the person you are speaking to, immediately hang up and call 877-766-2130 to be connected with LDH’s contact tracers.

COVID-19 in Louisiana

Q. How many confirmed cases and deaths have there been in Louisiana?

Check the Louisiana Department of Health's website for the most up-to-date information: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. The website is updated daily, at 12 noon.

Q: How are the number of active COVID-19 cases determined?

Because of several factors and variables, including when a case is identified, when that person becomes symptom-free and because we only know of cases reported to the State, there is not a simple way to determine the number of active cases in a region or statewide at any given time. For these reasons, the Department of Health does not calculate an accurate number for active cases.

Q: Where can people get more information about what the State of Louisiana is doing in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak?

The Governor’s office is constantly updating its website at gov.louisiana.gov, as is the Louisiana Department of Health at ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus. You can also call 211 for general information about COVID-19 and to get connected to help and resources

Q: On it’s website, the State calculates cases as “Presumed Recovered.” How     is that determined?

Presumed recovered counts are updated weekly on the coronavirus website. A person is presumed recovered if:

Q: Are "Probable Deaths" included in the "Deaths Reported" total?

No. On the LDH coronavirus dashboard, the numbers listed for deaths are confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. The probable death number is not included and reported separately on the dashboard.

Q: Does "Probable Deaths" represent the total number of deaths awaiting a lab positive result at any given time? Or, is each "Probable Deaths" report in addition to the last report?

The number of probable deaths can change on any day if a death is confirmed as COVID-19 with a positive test, or if a negative test result is received then the death would no longer be considered a probable death. 

Q: How can business access help with their COVID-19 business-related questions?

As of March 27,  Gov. John Bel Edwards and Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development announced the opening of an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19.

For COVID-19 business questions, LED may be reached at LEDbiz@la.gov or via the toll-free hotline, (833) 457-0531. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be aware that high call volumes might result in delays. Callers are encouraged to keep trying, leave a voice mail or contact LED via email.

For Louisiana businesses seeking federal financial assistance, they are encouraged first to contact the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov/Disaster to apply for COVID-19 disaster aid. The SBA Customer Service Center may be reached at (800) 659-2955, with an additional TTY line for the hearing-impaired at (800) 877-8339.

Q: How can I access assistance from the economic relief package?

As the State receives guidance, that information will be provided to the public from the Governor and other state officials. The current guidance … if you have lost your job because of the coronavirus outbreak, you can fill a claim online with the Louisiana Workforce Commission at www.laworks.net.

Q: Of the people who have tested positive so far in Louisiana, how many have needed hospitalization? 

The most up-to-date information about cases, deaths, hospitalizations and other data can be found at the  Department of Health’s COVID-19 website: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus

Q: When will the information about the number of patients who have recovered be released to the public?

This information is now available on the  Department of Health’s COVID-19 website: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus

Q: For the LDH coronavirus dashboard, Is the Department collecting data by race for people counted in Cases, Persons Tested, Deaths and Persons Under Investigation?

For routine lab tests, both for the State and by commercial laboratories, race is not a collected field. Therefore, the State will not have this data from routine lab testing.

 

However, for more serious cases (such as deaths), as the pandemic progresses and we have reliable numbers, the State is planning to release these statistics.

Q: The number of cases reported in cities and regions appears to change. Why?

The Louisiana Department of Health is working to ensure the accurate reporting of case counts. In some instances, cases that may have been assigned to a certain Parish are later changed based on new information and ongoing investigations by our epidemiologists.

Q: If someone has multiple tests – some are positive and some negative – are all those tests being counted as positive cases or are they looking at the names for duplicates?  

To determine the number of actual people with a positive test, duplicate records are removed. In the situation described, it would be counted as one case but with multiple positive results.

Q: What is the LDH guidance for medical providers to request PPEs?

A link to guidance can be found at the top of the LDH Coronavirus webpage.

Here is the link for medical providers:

http://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Coronavirus/resources/providers/PPEforweb.pdf

Q: Can I apply for Disaster SNAP food benefits for this emergency?

At this time, there is no option for emergency/disaster SNAP.

However, if you are not already a SNAP recipient and have a food need, you can apply for benefits online. There’s no need to visit a DCFS office. You can apply online or by mail/fax. For more information, text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898-211, visit the DCFS website at www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP, email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Q: I’m quarantined and/or staying home as advised by officials. Do I have to go into an office to apply for SNAP?

No, you don’t have to visit a DCFS office to apply for SNAP.  You can apply online or by downloading a paper application and then mailing or faxing it to us. You can also request an application by contacting DCFS at LaHELPU.DCFS@la.gov or 1-888-LAHelpU (1-888-524-3578) toll free. For instructions on how to apply, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP.  DCFS will continue to add information at www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP as the situation develops.  You can also text GETSNAP to 898211 for quick links and helpful info on SNAP.

Q: What is the number of tests being for COVID-19 in Louisiana?  What percentage have been positive?

For the most up-to-date information about cases in Louisiana, please go to the COVID-19 website: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus

Q. What are the appropriate swab kits to use for COVID19 testing?

Medical providers can use any available Viral Transport Media (VTM) or Universal Transport Media (UTM) available to them, making sure to follow instructions on the testing materials and ensuring the vial is completely closed and sealed.

Q: How does the process for testing in Louisiana for COVID-19 work?

Most if not all healthcare providers in Louisiana have access to testing resources. Contact your healthcare provider to inquire about testing.

Testing sites have been established throughout the state, and each have their own requirements. For the most up-to-date listing of these sites, visit: http://ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. Click on Community Testing Centers

Q: Will the State identify COVID-19 patients?

No. Because of patient privacy laws, the Louisiana Department of Health cannot provide any information that might identify patients. This includes name, residence of patient or any other potentially identifying patient information.

Q: Do hospitals have policies in place to keep inpatients who have been tested for COVID-19 and whose tests are pending from having visitors in their rooms?

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are restricting non-essential personnel from visiting people in their facilities. Patients under investigation (awaiting testing) should not have visitors, and healthcare personnel should be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

Q: Is the State testing patients who are in jail?

Patients who are suspected to have COVID-19 and who reside in a correctional facility or in a long term care facility are appropriate for testing by the State lab.

Q: Is everyone who dies being tested for COVID-19?

The only decedents who should be tested for COVID-19 by a coroner are those people who die with respiratory symptoms that are suggestive of a COVID-19, AND who did not have a link to someone with a known COVID-19. There is no need to test those who die of a “COVID-19-like” illness if they have been associated with another case (we’ll consider this a COVID-19 death). In addition, there is no need to test for COVID-19 in a person who did not die of a severe respiratory illness suggestive of COVID-19.

Q:  What determines whether or not a fatality is attributed to COVID-19?

When a death is counted as a COVID-19 death it means there has been a positive test result. It does not necessarily mean it is the cause of death. The cause of death could be a combination of COVID-19 and underlying conditions/complications.

Q:  I have heard that blood donations are needed. What will the blood be used for and how can I help?

Blood centers are seeking plasma donations from people who have had COVID-19 and are fully recovered. Those who have recovered have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus in other people.

Known as convalescent plasma, this type of blood donation is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those who are at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.

If you are interested, contact your nearest blood center.

Q:  Is it safe to travel within the U.S.?

Because cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. The CDC offers travel guidance at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel.

Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection.

Q: Can people be admitted into community-based residential care facilities?

Yes. Facilities such as residential substance use disorder treatment facilities, psychiatric residential treatment facilities [PRTFs] and therapeutic group homes should continue to provide these essential services to both existing and newly-admitted patients.

These facilities should provide services as long as such individuals can be managed safely in those settings, are not at risk for more severe medical outcomes or respiratory disease, and are not in need of more acute or higher levels of medical care.

Q: Can inpatient and residential facilities combine residents of several homes/units if staffing is not available?

Because of the high infection rate of COVID-19 and the increased vulnerability of people with disabilities to have serious responses due to complications, people should, as a rule, not be forced into settings that would increase social interaction beyond recommended levels. Instead, people should be moved into community-based settings, if possible.

Q: How should facilities monitor or restrict healthcare facility staff?

The same screening performed for visitors should be performed for facility staff.

Q: Should inpatient and residential facility community activities be limited for all people or should it be a person-centered decision?

Community activities should be limited in accordance with current CDC guidance and other state and federal requirements. Nationally, the CDC has advised individuals should practice social distancing, avoid gatherings of more than 10 individuals for high-risk populations and go into the community only for essential activities.

Q: When a resident has tested positive for COVID-19 and quarantine procedures are implemented, severe behaviors are likely to occur. How should this be addressed?

The health and safety of the residents, visitors and staff are the highest priority. For residents who have been found positive for COVID-19 virus, the resident’s treatment plan should include what specific procedures and steps should be taken for quarantine of the resident while also taking every step reasonable to protect the rights, safety and health of the infected residents as well as staff and other residents.

Q: How should facilities screen visitors and outside healthcare service providers?

Facilities should actively screen and restrict visitation or healthcare service providers (e.g. contract therapist) by those who meet the following criteria:

Q: When should mental health and substance use disorder treatment facilities consider transferring a client/resident with suspected or confirmed infection with COVID-19 to a hospital?

Decisions regarding when a given resident with suspected or confirmed infection with COVID-19 should be transferred to a hospital must be made on a case-by-case basis, and must be informed by the resident’s medical status and acuity, as well as by the facility’s ability to care for, monitor and provide medically necessary services related to the resident’s medical and behavioral health needs.

Q: When should a facility accept from a hospital a resident who was diagnosed with COVID-19?

A facility can accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 and still operate under transmission- based precautions for COVID-19 as long as the facility can follow CDC guidance for Transmission-Based Precautions. If a facility cannot follow the guidance, it must wait until these precautions are discontinued.

Facilities should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility who are not symptomatic, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present if they are able to adhere to the infection prevention and control practices recommended by the CDC.

If possible, facilities should dedicate a wing or room/s for any residents coming   or returning from the hospital. This can serve as a step-down unit where they remain for 14 days with no symptoms.

Q: Are Louisiana’s State Parks open?

According to the Office of State Parks, overnight facilities at parks are open to Louisiana residents, and tours at historic sites are now available for groups of 9 or less. Bayou Segnette and Lake Bistineau remain closed due to their use as regional isolation facilities.

RESOURCES

Q: Where can people get more information about what the State of Louisiana is doing in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak?

The Governor’s office is constantly updating its website at gov.louisiana.gov, as is the Louisiana Department of Health at ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus. You can also call 211 for general information about COVID-19 and to get connected to help and resources.

 

For text message alerts: Louisiana has implemented a new text alert system that provides timely COVID-19 updates and other critical guidance directly from the governor’s office to Louisiana residents. Sign up by texting ‘LACOVID’ to 67283.

 

Through the Smart911 app or smart911.com, families can provide key context to first responders. This is a free service that allows individuals to provide critical information including pre-existing conditions and quarantine status, in advance, to first responders.

Q: Where can I get the most up-to-date information?

Go to the Department of Health’s website: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus

For information or concerns about schools, contact the Department of Education at this email address: LDOECOVID19Support@la.gov        

Pandemic info: The White House Task Force has established www.coronavirus.gov  as the centralized website for the federal government. The CDC continues to maintain www.cdc.gov/covid19 site.

Q: How do I apply for Medicaid? What if I need assistance?

Local Medicaid offices are currently closed to the public.

If you think you qualify for Medicaid, you can apply for Medicaid online at https://sspweb.lameds.ldh.la.gov/selfservice/. 

If you need assistance applying or have questions regarding your eligibility please contact the Louisiana Medicaid Customer Service Center: 888-342-6207 or Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana: 800-435-2432, which is federally funded to assist people in Louisiana with Medicaid. This includes learning how to use your health coverage to get the medical care you need.

You can also visit the Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana website: www.lahealthcarenav.com        

Applications can also be mailed to the following address:

Q: What if I don’t qualify for Medicaid but recently lost my health insurance? How do I enroll in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace with the Affordable Care Act?

You can enroll yourself at the federal government website www.healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596. You can also contact Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana at 800-435-2432, which is federally funded to assist people in Louisiana with any questions and with the enrollment process. This includes learning how to use your health coverage to get the medical care you need.You can also visit their website www.lahealthcarenav.com        

Q: Are there any state information and resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19?

Yes. There are informational resources for business posted on this website: ldh.la.gov/coronavirus

On March 19th, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that small businesses in all 64 Louisiana parishes will have access to federal Small Business Administration disaster aid in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

To get started immediately, visit SBA.gov/Disaster. SBA offers a three-step process for disaster loans explained here.

Louisiana Economic Development also is offering COVID-19: Business Resources, an online guide to assistance available for impacted businesses. Look for updates to the guide at OpportunityLouisiana.com.

Q: Are there any grants available to small businesses for COVID 19-related expenses?

Yes. State Treasurer John M. Schroder has announced a program that will help cover COVID 19-related expenses, The Main Street Recovery Program allows businesses to apply for up to $15,000 to cover eligible expenses. In the first 21 days of the program, grants will be given to businesses who didn't receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan, insurance payment or an Economic Injury Disaster loan. In the first 60 days, $40 million will go to businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans. For more information on Main Street, visit www.latreasury.com 

Q: Are counseling services available to the public?

Counseling services are now available at the Keeping Calm during Covid Phone Line.

Call 1-866-310-7977 | Available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. All calls confidential.

Counselors provide information and service coordination with linkage to mental health and substance use counseling services.

Q: Can I apply for SNAP food benefits for this emergency?

At this time, there is no option for emergency/disaster SNAP.

However, if you are not already a SNAP recipient and have a food need, you can apply for benefits online. There’s no need to visit a DCFS office. You can apply online or by mail/fax. For more information, text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898-211, visit the DCFS website at www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP, email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Q: Can I still receive WIC benefits? Is WIC still open for enrollment?

Most WIC clinics are open and some are operating in drive-thru fashion. They are collecting information via phone then a staff member will come to your vehicle.  Be sure to have your ID, WIC EBT card, and any other needed documents.  

Call your clinic or 1-800-251-2229 if you have any questions.

Q: Is WIC issuing new cards?  

If WIC participants already have a card, they should keep that card. If someone is newly applying to WIC, they will be issued a card. WIC is not issuing disaster cards.

Q: How do I file for an unemployment claim?

Visit www.louisianaworks.net/hire or call the Claim Center at 1- 866-783-5567

Q: Do you encourage blood donations at this time?

Yes, click www.aabb.org to search for local blood donation clinics.

Q: What is the LDH guidance for medical providers to request PPEs?

A link to guidance can be found at the top of the LDH Coronavirus webpage.

Here is the link for medical providers:

http://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Coronavirus/resources/providers/PPEforweb.pdf

Q: Is child care assistance available to families?

Families can access subsidized care for children age 12 and under through the Louisiana Department of Education’s Child Care Assistance Program, CCAP. The program assures affordable access to childcare at licensed childcare centers participating in the program.

The program is available to families with caregivers who are considered essential personnel in the COVID-19 response effort. Go to www.louisianabelieves.com to complete an application.

Q: How can businesses access help for COVID-19 concerns?

The Louisiana Economic Development staffs a help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The email is LEDbiz@la.gov                                                                  Toll-free hotline: 833-457-0531. Staffed 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. M-F.

For businesses seeking federal financial assistance, contact the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov/Disaster, or call 800- 659-2955. The TTY line is 800-877-8339.

Q: Can individuals report a store price gouging or scams?

The Louisiana Attorney General operates the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889.

Q: I want to file a complaint about a business with sick employees and/or is not following the COVID-19 mask mandate?

Q:  I am concerned about some businesses that I frequent are not following the social distancing, wearing masks and other COVID-19 mandates from the governor. Is there an agency that follows up on whether or not businesses are complying with these mandates?

If someone has a concern about a business that has reopened and is not following state guidelines related to social distancing, crowd control, capacity, etc. they can call the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal at 1-800-256-5452. If the concern is about not following state guidelines related to masks and disinfection they can email the Department of Health Environmental Health at EOCENVDR@la.gov

Q: If I have a concern about a school being in violation of the return to school guidance and state mask mandates, who should I contact?

This authority rests with the Louisiana Department of Education. All complaints about schools, public or private or parochial can be emailed to: LDOECOVID19Support@la.gov.          

Q: I received a call from this number, 225-800-5639. It was an automated call with a message related to COVID-19. Is this a legitimate call?

 Yes, this call is from the Governor’s COVID Response Alert System. The automated call system is being used to provide people with important information about the pandemic and resources that are available to residents. You are receiving the call because you live in a community where there are a large number of COVID-19 cases.

Q: Are there services that provide specialized assistance to those supporting young children during this stressful time?

Tulane’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Program (TIKES) program is offering a free Tele Mental Health Consult for individuals caring for young children in Louisiana.

 

Childcare center directors, teachers, staff, and parents/guardians can access assistance to support young children through this stressful time, how to talk to young children about COVID-19, self-care, coping, supporting parents and other needs related to behavioral or social emotional concerns.

 

Access this free service online at https://tinyurl.com/TulaneTIKES .

Q: I have questions about these services that are received through the state’s Office of Aging. Who do I call or contact for information?

People who have questions can call or email the Office of Aging and Adult Services at:

Phone: 1-866-758-5035

Email:: OAAS.Inquiries@la.gov 

Q:  I receive disability services through the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) and I have questions regarding changes to those services during the COVID-19 emergency. Who do I contact regarding this?

Email OCDD-HCBS@la.gov , and someone will respond to your question.

 

Call OCDD 225-342-0095 Monday through Friday 8:00-4:30 to talk with someone directly, or leave a message outside business hours.

 

Q:  I provide disability services through the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD), and I have questions regarding the changes in services during the COVID-19 emergency.  Who should I contact with these questions?

Email OCDD-HCBS@la.gov , and someone will respond to your question.

 

Call OCDD Monday through Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm to speak with someone, or leave a message outside business hours.

Q:  Can I access free COVID-19 Counseling Services?

Yes, you can access a free crisis text line for confidential support, 24/7 by testing the word REACHOUT to 741741.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, fear and anxiety about the uncertainty surrounding this public health emergency, you can access a special Keeping Calm through COVID Hotline at 1-866-310-7977. This connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services.  Trained counselors available 24/7. All calls are confidential.

Q: I am looking for access/copies to my medical records but my primary care provider's office/clinic is closed down and no longer operational.  What can I do?

If the caller is asking about records in the possession of a licensed provider such as a rural health clinic or a federal clinic (FQHC) the Louisiana Department may have that information. The caller should provide their information and the name of the clinic they use. Contact LDH’s Health Standards Section by email at HSS.Mail@la.gov or phone: 225.342.0138.

If the records are in the possession of a private physician, the caller should contact the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners at https://www.lsbme.la.gov/ or 504-568-6820

Q: Is there grant or stimulus money available to families for funeral assistance for certified COVID-19 deaths? 

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 funded FEMA to reimburse individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses.

FEMA is providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic.

How to Apply


COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021

844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Friday

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA's representatives. Multilingual services will be available.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process, including expenses that qualify, at the FEMA Funeral Assistance FAQ page.

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance:

FEMA encourages people to keep and gather documentation for COVID-19 funeral expenses. Types of information should include:

If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

More information regarding this assistance can be found at https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance

Federal Links and Info

Q: How can I get the most up-to-date information about the pandemic?

The White House Task Force has established www.coronavirus.gov  as the centralized website for the federal government. The CDC continues to maintain www.cdc.gov/covid19 site

Q: Has the IRS extended the filing deadline for federal taxes?

Yes. The Trump administration announced on March 20 that it is moving tax day from April 15 to July 15, giving Americans an extra three months to file their taxes amid the disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Q:  How can businesses seek information on federal financial assistance designed for businesses?

For Louisiana businesses seeking federal financial assistance, they are encouraged first to contact the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov/Disaster to apply for COVID-19 disaster aid. The SBA Customer Service Center may be reached at (800) 659-2955, with an additional TTY line for the hearing-impaired at (800) 877-8339.

Q: How can I report possible fraud related to COVID-19 products?

The FDA has created an online way to report illegal selling of drugs (for humans and animals), medical devices, biological products, foods, dietary supplements or cosmetics.

https://www.fda.gov/safety/report-problem-fda/reporting-unlawful-sales-medical-products-internet

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Q:  What is the risk of getting COVID-19 on a plane?

Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC offers travel guidance at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Q:  What should I do to keep from getting sick if I travel?

Avoid contact with sick people.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. ◦It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.

Q:  Is it safe to travel with friends or family?

It is still recommended that you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Traveling to visit friends and family increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Getting infected may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. People at higher risk for complications need to take extra precautions

Q:  What should I do if I have recently traveled?

At this time, travel restrictions and entry screening apply only to travelers arriving from some countries or regions with widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19.  You may be screened when you arrive in the United States. After you arrive home, take the following steps to protect yourself and others:

Stay at home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.

Monitor your health. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for coughing or trouble breathing.

Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet).

Check CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Travel webpage at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q. What if I feel sick within 14 days after returning to the U.S.?

For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.