[1]The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Office of Public Health Bureau of Community Preparedness (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.F

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 Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 2:51pm

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. 

The following are the symptoms according to the CDC:

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?:

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

People can also become infected if they breathe in the droplets from the person who has COVID-19. This is why it’s important to stay at least 6 feet away from an infected person

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: The following are the symptoms according to the CDC:

·         Fever or chills

·         Cough

·         Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·         Fatigue

·         Muscle or body aches

·         Headache

·         New loss of taste or smell

·         Sore throat

·         Congestion or runny nose

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Diarrhea

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?

While people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and abroad, the majority of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 do recover.

The virus appears to only be severe if it reaches the lungs and remains untreated. Most healthy people can recover from COVID-19 at home.

Q: What steps should I take to protect myself and my family?

We all have a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The single most important thing we can all do is stay home when we are sick. Social distancing, washing hands vigorously and often, coughing into the elbow. If you are in public places where it is difficult to ensure a social distancing of at least 6 feet, the CDC recommends wearing a face cloth or mask.

Q: Are younger people at risk for a serious illness?

A CDC study published on March 17th shows that younger people can develop serious COVID-19 illness requiring hospitalization. This finding is different from the first reports from China.

 

Younger people are still much less likely to die from COVID-19 than older people.

Q:  What’s the process for COVID-19 lab result reporting to patients?

Laboratory results, both negative and positive, are reported to the healthcare provider who submitted the specimen for testing.

HURRICANES AND COVID-19

Q: Are there any special precautions to take for these storms and with COVID-19?

Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water and medicine supplies. Take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands: Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart from others, minimize how many trips and how many family members join, and wash or disinfect your hands when you return home.

Q: Is there any federal help/aid (FEMA) available?

Residents of sixteen Louisiana parishes impacted by Hurricane Laura can register for FEMA assistance. This assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property loss and other programs to help people and businesses recover from Hurricane Laura.

People who sustained losses in the parishes of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Vernon, Acadia, Ouachita, Vermilion, Rapides, Natchitoches, Sabine, Winn, Grant, Jackson, and Lincoln can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov  or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Q: If I need shelter, is there a phone number or location to go to for help?

Yes. The most up-to-date information about State-supported shelter can be found at: www.LA211Shelterinfo.org

You can also dial 211 directly or text “LASHELTER” to 898-211 for Hurricane Laura Shelter Information.

Q: What if I plan to stay with friends or family?

If you plan to stay with others, talk to them in advance about how you can all best protect yourselves from COVID-19. Consider if either of your households has someone who is at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults or people of any age who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiac disease.

Follow everyday preventive actions, including covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands often, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Consider taking extra precautions for people living in close quarters.

Q: What should families of a person with a mental illness do to be prepared?

When dealing with disasters, it is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family and your community recover. You can call the special Keep Calm through COVID hotline. This connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services. Call 1-866-310-7977.

Also, the Behavioral Health Recovery Outreach Line connects individuals to real-time support to avoid, prevent or intercept a crisis from occurring. This line offers recovery support 24/7/365 for those with substance use, mental health, mental illness or co-occurring disorders. Call 1-833-333-1132 to speak with a qualified support provider who can connect you to trained specialists and clinicians in multiple languages.

Q: I have a family member with a disability who requires help from a support coordinator. Will this still be available?

If you or your family member is an elderly person or a person with a disability receiving home and community-based supports and services, make sure to talk to your support coordinator to help you prepare for the storm.

Q: Can a resident of a nursing home or a group home join other family members who are evacuating?

Resident of group homes and nursing home should check with the administrators at their facility as there may be certain protocols and precautions that must be followed before they can return. This will include the resident having to be isolated for at least 14 days for observation of any signs and symptoms upon their return. They might also have to be subject to the testing requirements of the home.

Q: Are masks still useful when they cannot be washed (for a week now, possibly longer)?

Any mask is better than no mask. Try to use the disposable masks.  Wear a cloth mask for a few days, and then switch to another.  

Q: It is very difficult to wear a mask in very hot places, especially with so many people working long hours outdoor in direct sunlight with little access to cooled spaces due to widespread power outages. Any tips?

Obviously stay hydrated. Try and find and set up in shade if possible. Take frequent breaks.  When necessary, step away from other people and remove the mask for a break. Put the mask back on before congregating. Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects.

Q: We are under a boil water advisory, so water is scarce. How can someone practice good hand washing while under a boil water advisory?

We realize it is much tougher now but whenever and wherever possible, it is still critical to wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand sanitizer. It's also important to be extra careful while preparing food if you have trouble accessing water or clean water.

Q: What is a Boil Water Advisory (BWA)?

A boil water advisory or notice is issued by the health department of a water company as a precaution to protect people from drinking water that may have been contaminated. Boil water advisories (BWA) are issued when an unexpected condition has caused a potential for biological contamination of water in a public water system. Common reasons for a BWA include loss of pressure in the distribution system, loss of disinfection, and other unexpected water quality problems. Boil advisories result after water line breaks, treatment disruptions, power outages and floods.

Q: How long do I have to boil water if under a boil water advisory (BWA)?

BWAs typically last for 24 to 48 hours, but this can be longer and the need to boil water may last for several days or more. How long depends on the conditions that caused the need to boil, how quickly the conditions can be corrected, and how long it takes for laboratory results to confirm that your water is again ready to drink.

Q: How do I boil my water so that it is safe to drink?

Bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute, then allow the water to cool before using. Because water may take 30 minutes to cool, plan ahead. Make up a batch of boiled water in advance so you will not be tempted to use it hot and risk scalds or burns. Boiled water may be used for drinking, cooking, and washing.

Q: Can I still use water for food prep, drinking, brushing teeth, baby formula?

No, any water used for food preparation or cooking needs to be from an acceptable alternate source or boiled first.

Q: What about showering in water while there is a boil water advisory in place?

Unless a "Do Not Use" notification has been issued, your water may be used by healthy individuals for showering, bathing, shaving, and washing as long as care is taken not to swallow water and avoid shaving nicks.

Q: Can I use ice that is being produced by water under a boil water advisory?

No.

Q: How do I know if I need a tetanus vaccine?

Booster shots are recommended every 10 years. If you experience a puncture wound, it's best to get the booster shot regardless of when you had your last tetanus shot.

Q: Where can I get vaccine records? I have evacuated out-of-state and need to get my child registered for school, and vaccine records are required? Where/how can I get this information?

Anyone can request a Louisiana vaccination records at: https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/3641

You can also go to this site: http://myir.net        

Q: How can I protect myself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning?

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms that include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

To prevent CO poisoning, purchase and install a CO detector. Change the batteries every six months.

Never run a generator, or other any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area; inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.

Q: Is the Medical Monitoring Station at the New Orleans Convention Center accepting hospital or nursing home patients?

The MMS in New Orleans remains open for patients who are currently being treated in a medical facility. The MMS evaluates new admits during these extreme weather events on a case-by-case basis. The hospital, nursing home or physician must first contact the MMS when seeking to admit a patient. As the MMS is positioned in a low-lying parish, consideration will be given to the most appropriate location and disposition of any potential new admit during a storm activation. For further information, contact Kevin Litten at 504-436-2207.

Q: I am a cancer patient and had to evacuate. How can I continue to get my treatments (such as chemo or radiation)?

The Louisiana Department of Health and Louisiana Cancer Prevention have a toll-free line to help displaced patients find cancer care. The toll-free line is 888-599-1073 and is staffed during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The phone line is designed to help connect patients with cancer to their doctors. There is also a medical advisor who can help answer questions from patients.

Q: Where can I find the most up-to-date information about my Medicaid coverage?

From accessing Medicaid services from out-of-state, to financial assistance, to pharmacy services, Medicaid recipients can find the answers at one spot, www.ldh.la.gov/laura. After going to this page, next click on Hurricane Laura Member Assistance FAQs.

Q: If a Medicaid patient evacuates and needs a prescription filled, how can that be done?

In this situation, the request for an early refill can be made at a commercial pharmacy. When getting such a request, the patient needs to have their Medicaid information and provide to the pharmacy. The pharmacists will contact the respective Medicaid plan and request an early refill.

If a Medicaid recipient gets displaced out-of-state and seeks refill at an out-of-state pharmacy, the request will be directed the State Medicaid program.

For patients whose active prescription has lapsed, pharmacists have the authority to issue a 30- day emergency refill authorization.  

Q:  Can I use my Louisiana Medicaid card to receive medical services in Texas (out of state)?  Am I covered beyond prescription services?

Yes, but your Texas provider will need to enroll with Louisiana Medicaid in order to treat you and be reimbursed for your care.  Please ensure the provider you choose follows all Louisiana published guidance here: www.ldh.la.gov/laura.

Q:  I lost my prescriptions that were recently filled.  Can I get refills with my Medicaid Card? (in Louisiana or out of state)

Try to fill all prescriptions in the state of Louisiana. If you filled them last at a chain pharmacy, stop at a different location of the same chain pharmacy and give them your name and date of birth, sometimes they can access the records. It is up to the pharmacist’s professional judgement on whether or not to fill the prescriptions. Your prescriber can call in a prescription at any pharmacy that is open. You can go to a clinic to get new prescriptions if necessary.

Q: My pharmacy is closed. What should I do to get my prescription?

Same answer as above.

Q:  Is there any assistance available to access over-the-counter medicines?

There may be assistance through your managed care plan. Please call your health plan to see what they may offer. List below to reference:

Health Plan

Contact

Aetna

Member Services: 1-855-242-0802

AmeriHealth Caritas

Perform Rx Member Services: 1-866-452-1040

Healthy Blue

Member Pharmacy Services: 1-833-207-3114

Louisiana Healthcare Connections

Member Services: 1-866-595-8133

United Healthcare

Member Services: 1-866-675-1607

 

If you are a fee-for-service member, Medicaid only covers antihistamine and antihistamine/decongestants over the counter medications. All other over the counter medications are not payable.

Q. Are there any pharmacies open in Lake Charles or other storm-damaged communities?

Ideal Health Mart                        610 N PINE ST                        DERIDDER

GORDONS DRUG STORE        2716 LAKE ST                        LAKE CHARLES        

CVS Pharmacy #05455        1269 Sam Houston Jones Pkwy                Moss Bluff        

WALMART 10-0505                1125 NORTH PINE St                        DERIDDER

WALMART 10-0405                2204 SOUTH 5th ST                        LEESVILLE

ALBERTSONS #0717                4060 RYAN ST                        LAKE CHARLES        

BROOKSHIRE BROTHERS         1612 S RUTH                        SULPHUR

WALMART 10-0521                2500 N MARTIN LUTHER KING                           LAKE CHARLES        

WALMART 10-0331                525 N CITIES SERVICE HWY                SULPHUR

WALMART 10-1204                3451 NELSON RD                                           LAKE CHARLES        

SAV-ON PHARMACY #2798        2750 COUNTRY CLUB RD        LAKE CHARLES        

CVS Pharmacy #16738                1720 W Prien Lake Rd                LAKE CHARLES        

WALGREENS #7197                120 N HWY 171                        MOSS BLUFF

SAMS PHARMACY 10-8265        2025 SAMS WAY                           LAKE CHARLES        

CVS Pharmacy #00266                2000 RYAN ST                        LAKE CHARLES        

CVS Pharmacy #01099                4828 NELSON RD                           LAKE CHARLES

WALGREENS                        4097 RYAN ST                        LAKE CHARLES        

WALGREENS #10538                2008 S 5TH ST                        LEESVILLE

CVS Pharmacy #10558                304 S 5th St                                   LEESVILLE

Walmart Pharmacy 10-6590        260 Sam Houston Jones Pkwy        Lake Charles        

Hobgood Pharmacy                        2640 Country Club Rd Ste 150        Lake Charles

Walmart Pharmacy 10-6583        2011 Ryan St                                Lake Charles

VitalRx of Louisiana                          722 N Highway 171                        Lake Charles

Pettit's Family Pharmacy                   114 Gloria Dr                                Lake Charles        

Q: Are Parish Health Units Open?

Here is the status of Parish Health Unit (PHU) operations by region:

Greater New Orleans area: sites that will be operating currently pending

Baton Rouge area:

Houma/Thibodaux area: All sites are operational

Acadiana area: All sites are operational

Greater Lake Charles area: Sites in Jefferson Davis, Allen, and Beauregard parishes are now open but with modified schedules. Contact the individual health unit for details on service availability.

Beginning on Monday, Sept. 14, the Calcasieu PHU will have COVID testing from 9-2pm M-F, and will be offering emergency vaccines (Hep B, Hep A, and Tetanus) from 9-2 M-F as well.

Central Louisiana area: The following sites opened Monday, August 31: Rapids, Avoyelles and Concordia. All other sites are without electricity and will remain closed.

Shreveport/Bossier: All sites open except Sabine is closed.

Monroe area: All sites open except Caldwell, Jackson, Lincoln, Union are without power.

Florida Parishes/Northshore: All operational

Clients of a closed PHU that need their RXs filled should call the OPH Pharmacy at 504-568-5022,  504-568-5023, 504-568-6273 and ask to speak to a pharmacist. Arrangement will be made to send the medication depending on the situation.

Q: When/why should I be tested for COVID-19?

You should get a COVID-19 test for the following reasons:

Q: Is COVID-19 testing resuming now that Hurricane Laura has passed?

Yes, community based COVID-19 testing is available at multiple locations around the state. Louisiana Department of Health publishes the current testing sites across the state at www.ldh.la.gov/COVID-19Testing

People seeking a test should pre-register (if possible) at www.doIneedacovid19test.com

TREATMENT

Q: Is there a vaccine or medicine to treat COVID-19?

No. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for this infection. People infected with COVID-19 receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

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

The answer is, we don’t know. There have been some anecdotal reports that the drug may be effective, and others reports that it is not. However, there have not been any tests done by the FDA to see two things:

 Until these tests – known as clinical trials – are completed, most doctors are not prescribing this possible treatment.

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.

Q:  What should I do if I am sick?

Call your doctor immediately if the following:

Q. Office of Public Health (OPH) recommends that you stay home and treat your symptoms as you would with the common cold if the following:

Q. What should I do if I am caring for someone who is sick?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, are over the age of 60, or have an underlying medical condition like heart, lung, or kidney disease, and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.

If you are young, otherwise healthy, and have not been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or recently traveled to a country with a high rate of COVID-19, stay home and treat your symptoms as you would with a common cold.

Q:  What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Isolation and quarantine are both public health practices that are being utilized to limit the spread of COVID-19. While they are often used interchangeably, they have very different meanings.

Isolation is a strategy used to separate people who are sick with a contagious illness from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of people who are ill to help stop the spread of certain diseases. People in isolation may be cared for in their homes, in hospitals, or in designated healthcare facilities.
 
Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious illness, but do not have symptoms to see if they become sick. These individuals may or may not be contagious.

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

Q: When can I end self-isolation?

People with COVID-19 symptoms may end self-isolation when:

People with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may end self-isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test and have had no subsequent illness.

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

People with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have symptoms may end self-isolation under the following conditions:

People with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue self-isolation when at least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

Q:  What are the recommendations for a person who has been in close contact with someone with the illness? For answers to your specific situation, you should contact your physician.

Q: Can masks be reused?

Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse. Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands  immediately after handling these items.

TESTING for COVID-19

Q. Should I be tested for the virus? Who should be tested?

Only people who are ill with a fever and respiratory symptoms (cough) should be tested.

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Clinicians use their judgment to determine if a patient should be tested, including if the patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19. Another consideration is the occurrence of local community transmission of COVID-19 infections.

 

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.

LDH is publishing a daily list of testing sites at www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus Click Guidance and Resources and see Community Testing Sites (updated Twice Daily.)

Q: How long after exposure should I get tested?

You should wait a few days from when you were exposed. This is because the time between when you are exposed and when your test would be positive can vary from 4-14 days. Therefore, even though someone may have the virus, the test would not be positive until possibly day 4 or longer.  If you have been in close contact of someone who is positive, consult with your doctor to see if they think you need to be tested and when.

Q. Where can I go to get tested?

Tests sites are being 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 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:  Will testing be expanded in Louisiana?

LDH is preparing to test more broadly as the federal government expands its testing guidelines. Throughout June, mobile testing locations are being scheduled in most regions of the state. Check your local media for locations, times and requirements. Or, check the LDH website here: http://ldh.la.gov/COVID-19Testing 

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.

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. 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. So, if you have symptoms – even if you get a negative test result – it is advisable to stay at home until you have been symptom-free for at least 72 hours.

Q: I hear there is an app that will help me know if I need to be tested?

Yes, there is an app and a website that has been developed by the CDC and Apple. These tools guide people through a series of questions about their health and exposure to determine if they should seek care for COVID-19 symptoms.  The tool provides CDC recommendations on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, recommendations on testing, and when to contact a medical provider. The free app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store or on Google Play or access the tool online at www.apple.com/covid19.

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. (Do not call the LPCA office main line to locate a clinic. Call 211 if you need assistance.)

Q: Who can be tested for COVID-19?

The Louisiana Department of Health recommends COVID-19 testing for any patient with fever and respiratory symptoms.

 

Healthcare providers have been advised that testing is recommended for any patient with fever and respiratory symptoms.

Q: What do I do if I don’t have an established doctor or can’t get an appointment?

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

This website lists all of these clinics/health centers: 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.  (Please do not call the LPCA office main line to locate a clinic.  

Call 211 if you need assistance.)

Q: I have symptoms. What should I do if I am not established with a doctor and no one I call appears to be taking new patients at this time?

If you do not yet have a primary care provider, you can call your local federally-qualified health center to make an appointment: You can find your nearest community health center using the search tool here: https://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.  (Please do not call the LPCA office main line to locate a clinic.  Call 211 if you need assistance.)

If no community health centers are performing COVID-19 testing in your area, you can call your local emergency department to request testing. Please remember to call first before visiting your health care providers for COVID-19 symptoms.

LDH is publishing a daily list of testing sites at www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus . Click Guidance and Resources and see Community Testing Sites (updated Twice Daily.)

Q: I have symptoms and I do not have insurance or money to go to a doctor...  Where do I seek medical care?

Federally-qualified health centers provide primary care, oral health, and mental health services on a sliding scale basis. Several of these community health centers are performing testing for COVID-19. You can find your nearest community health center using the search tool here: https://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.  (Please do not call the LPCA office main line to locate a clinic.  Call 211 if you need assistance.)

Please remember to call first before visiting your health care providers for COVID-19 symptoms.

Q: How long should I stay home if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but do not qualify for testing?

If you are experiencing symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider for guidance. The same is true if you have no symptoms but are exposed to a known contact.

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 LDH is 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. 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 de-duplication 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: If I need to get tested for COVID-19, how much will it cost?

The federal government has announced that all testing is free, including for the uninsured.

Q:  The federal government has announced that all testing is free. Does this include the uninsured?

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; however, you should contact the testing site before you arrive to ensure they do not require a physician order for testing or that you are an existing patient of that healthcare facility's provider network.

Testing is 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. Please use the search tool to find a clinic near you using your zip code. You must contact the clinic first to get information about their testing procedures and requirements.

Q: What should I do if I have come in contact with someone who has tested positive?

You should self-isolate and limit your contact with other people. And, you should contact your primary care physician for guidance. If you develop a fever and a cough, you should contact your doctor.

Q. Does pre-existing respiratory illness qualify you for asymptomatic testing?

No. Currently, there is no testing for people not experiencing symptoms.

Q: How long before I get the results of my test?

With the number of places providing COVID-19 tests increasing each week, people are having to wait longer for their results. Currently, some commercial labs that process the tests can take up to two weeks to report those results back to the patient.

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 if they haven’t received their results within the timeframe that was given.

Q: I have read that people are having trouble getting their test results. Is there anything I can do to make sure that I know how to get my results?

Yes. When getting tested, be sure to ask someone at the test site to tell you when to expect your results, and where to call – be sure to get a phone number – if you haven’t received your results within the timeframe you were given.

         Q: I was tested recently and still haven’t gotten my results. How can I get my results?

Thank you for calling 211. We are aware that it is taking up to two weeks for people to be notified of their results. We urge you to be patient. Test results will be provided by the lab to the provider who ordered the test or are available on the lab’s online portal depending on the site where you were tested.

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 you to self-quarantine while you wait for your test result. Testing does not replace quarantining. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine at your home and away from others, including your family if possible, for 14 days since the date of exposure.

Even if your test comes back negative prior to the end of the quarantine period, you still need to remain quarantined for the full 14 days. This is because the incubation period for the virus can be up to 14 days and unless you were tested on the 14th day from your exposure, a negative test earlier in the quarantine period does not mean you are not infected.

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: 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 www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com or download the app on the Apple App Store of Google Play.

 

If you were tested at the Alario Center in Westwego, Wal-Mart in LaPlace and Wal-Mart in Shreveport, you can use the Quest Diagnostics portal for your results.

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

Many testing sites that 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.

Check the site that you are interested in using in advance to learn of that site’s hours and registration requirements. A list of testing sites is posted online at www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus. Click Guidance and Resources and see Community Testing Sites.

Sites using Quest 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:  How can I get tested for COVID-19 at the new sites at the Walmart in LaPlace and Walmart in Shreveport?

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

Walmart Locations:

Shreveport: 1125 Shreveport Barksdale Hwy, Shreveport, LA 71105

LaPlace: 1616 W Airline Hwy, LaPlace, LA 70068

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.  

Q: Will the recently announced 5-minute quick test for COVID-19 be available in Louisiana?

The 15-minute test instrument is a faster test for detecting the virus. It is being manufactured now, but the demand will likely far outpace the supply. The State and provider laboratories will be working to assess this and other new testing methods and will obtain faster technology as they are able. Check with your healthcare provider and/or the testing site that you visit.

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: 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.

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

At this time, there are still some unknowns. For other viruses, people have developed immunities after being exposed to the virus.

However, Since COVID-19 is a new coronavirus, we do not know if the antibodies that result from a COVID-19 illness will provide someone with immunity from a future infection. If antibodies do provide immunity, we don’t know what titer or amount of antibodies would be protective or the duration that protection would last. CDC scientists are conducting studies to better understand the level of antibodies needed for protection, the duration of that protection, and the factors associated with whether a person develops a protective antibody response.

Q: I would like for my clinic to offer COVID-19 testing to the public. What do I need to do?

 There are no state requirements for clinics that want to provide COVID-19 testing to the public. Clinics are responsible for ordering their testing supplies, contracting with a laboratory to analyze the results, developing the necessary processes and training to implement a testing program, communicating with the public about the site and its hours of operation, and providing the results to those who were tested.

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: Is it legal for a business/organization to ask a customer to prove they do not have COVID-19 in order to be served?

The Louisiana Department of Health is not aware of such a requirement for customers of a business. Because LDH advises that not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19, most people would be unable to prove they do not have the virus. Instead, advice from the health department is people do not need a test if they do not have symptoms or if they have not been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Individuals should consult with their physician about the need for a test. 

Q: I was tested at one of the HHS surge sites. I do not have an email address and I don’t know how to access the online system for getting results. What can I do?

The lab that is processing the test, eTrueNorth, has a phone number for people to call who need help logging onto their web portal. You can call 800-635-8611 for help logging on. Note, due to the high volume of calls, there is a wait time, AND you must still use the web portal to get your results.

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.

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.

PREVENTION

Q:  Do I need to wear a mask when I leave the house?

As CDC studies the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is now known that a significant portion of people with coronavirus lack symptoms and can spread the virus to others. Wearing a mask significantly reduces spread of the disease from an infected person to others. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public. As of July 13, Governor Edwards mandated the use of masks or other face coverings statewide for all people age 8 and older. Masks are strongly recommended for children ages 2 to 7.

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 spread of water droplets out, masks with valves do not provide this protection.

Q. Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

No. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for this infection. People infected with COVID-19 receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

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: What if someone at my work, school, church has illness symptoms like fever or cough?

Contacts should monitor their health. They should call their healthcare provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Testing is recommended, but will be based on availability.

 

Q: What if someone at my work, school, church has been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

Exposed persons should self-isolate at home. Contacts should monitor their health. They should call their healthcare provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Testing is recommended, but will be based on availability.

Q: What if someone at my work, school, church has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Exposed persons should self-isolate at home. Contacts should monitor their health. They should call their healthcare provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Testing is recommended, but will be based on availability.

Q: Do I need to notify someone if someone I know at work, church, school has signs of illness, is suspected of having COVID-19, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

No, healthcare providers and laboratories have the responsibility to report to Public Health

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 contact with. 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. How can I help protect myself and/or my family?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

There are simple everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

Actions to help protect you and your family include:

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: I see people in my neighborhood out running, riding bikes and walking their dogs. Is that OK?

Yes, that's OK. Just be sure to maintain distance from other people. The CDC recommends a distance of about 6 feet. Even in communities where residents are being asked to stay home and "shelter in place," it's still fine to go for a run, hike or do other outdoor activities, as long as proper social distancing is observed. Wear a mask if you will be within 6 feet of others.

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: How can someone report about crowds gathering / folks not obeying by the public gathering laws put out by the governor?

You don’t need to report others. Be sure to take your own precautions by washing your hands, covering your cough and limiting your exposure by avoiding crowds and gatherings of more than 50 people.

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: Are people required to wear masks or face coverings?

Yes. As of July 13, Governor Edwards mandated the use of masks or other face coverings statewide for all people age 8 and older. Masks are strongly recommended for children ages 2 to 7. There is an exemption for any parish that has fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 residents (currently Grant, Red River and West Feliciana parishes). There are also exemptions for anyone who:

·         has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering,

·         is consuming a drink or food,

·         is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired,

·         is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience,

·         is temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes.

As CDC studies the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is now known that a significant portion of people with coronavirus lack symptoms and can spread the virus to others.

In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures - remaining at least six feet apart - are difficult to maintain - such as grocery stores and pharmacies - especially in areas where there is significant community transmission.

Q: Are there any exemptions for medical conditions to the order to wear a mask when in public?

The directive by Gov. Edwards to wear a mask allows an exemption for those who have a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering. The order does not list specific medical conditions. However, there are no known medical conditions aside from a severe skin condition (such as very burn that requires treatment) that that would prevent a person from wearing a cloth face covering.

Also, if a person has a medical condition they believe prevents them from wearing a mask, that condition might also make them more susceptible to the serious consequences of COVID-19. They should therefore be very careful when going into public spaces.

As with prohibitions against smoking and proper attire requirements, employers and businesses can require the use of masks by their employees and their customers.

Q: What are the rules about wearing masks?

The governor's proclamation requires all citizens to wear a face covering, both indoors and out, but there are exceptions that allow citizens to not have to legally wear a face covering. Those exceptions include when an individual is able to maintain 6-foot distancing from others, when the individual has a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to wear a face covering, if the individual is a child younger than 8, if the individual is consuming food or drink, if the individual is communicating with someone who is hearing impaired, if the individual is providing identification, or if the individual is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience.

Q: Do I have to wear a mask when exercising?

If you are able to maintain 6-foot of distance from others, you are not legally required to wear the face covering while engaged in exercising. You are required to wear face coverings around your fitness center prior to choosing a piece of equipment to exercise with.

Q: Are face shields an acceptable alternative for a face mask?

No, they are not. The lower part of the face shield is completely open and allows the free flow of the water droplets that carry COVID-19. CDC does not recommend them as an acceptable substitute to a face mask which covers the mouth and nose.

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 CORVID-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:  I am concerned because I’ve heard that workers at restaurants, food distribution sites and food processing plants have tested positive for COVID-19. Are the customers of these businesses at risk for getting the virus?

The short answer is no. Experts say the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person. This can occur when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets with the virus fly into the air from their nose or mouth. Anyone who is within 6 feet of that person can breathe those droplets into their lungs.

Another, but less common, way to catch the virus is when you touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on. You may touch a countertop or doorknob that's contaminated and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. The virus can live on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for 2 to 3 days.

For this reason, we encourage people to clean and disinfect all counters, knobs, and other surfaces you and your family touch several times a day, and to wash your hands anytime you touch a surface or after picking up packages/meals from a site like a restaurant or distribution site.

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.

HEALTH EFFECTS / COMPLICATIONS

Q. What are severe complications from this virus?

Severe complications include pneumonia in both lungs.

Q. Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

Those who are most at risk are people over age 60 AND who have severe chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung, kidney disease or diabetes.

 

Other people who are not age 60, but who have these same medical conditions also face a higher risk than the general population.

Q. What about women who are pregnant?

There is limited data on the effect of COVID-19 on pregnant mothers and their infants. Overall, there does not appear to be an increased risk of severe disease for pregnant women. However, because pregnant women are immunocompromised, they should be considered in the at-risk population.

 

Social distancing should be practiced. This means visitors will need to be limited during labor and delivery. We are encouraging hospitals to prepare patients for this ahead of admission.

 

Q. What is the risk to children?

Although infections in children have been reported, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19 or at greater risk of a serious illness. However, COVID-19has been associated with multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). This is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. The cause of MIS-C is unknown but many children with this condition had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

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.

Q: How can a loved one be removed from a nursing home?

Talk to the administrator and Director of Nursing at the facility where your loved one lives.

Q: Does the state’s restricted visitors policy mean no visitors can enter a health care facility?

No. Health care facilities can allow visitors at their discretion, in consultation with families and responsible parties. This order also doesn’t apply to situations involving end-of-life care. However, no one who meets the definition of a “restricted person” can be allowed in a healthcare facility.

Workforce Related Questions

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:  Do I need to wear a mask for work?

Employers are establishing guidance that is consistent with CDC recommendations and appropriate for their workplaces. Make sure you are aware of your employer’s requirements and follow them.

All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.

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

This person can return to work when at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery meaning:

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

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

This person can return to work under the following conditions:

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

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

This person can return to work when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

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

Any person who has been exposed but who does not have symptoms should self-quarantine for 14 days. That person should also wait at least seven days before seeking a test. This is because its takes that much time between exposure and when a test result is positive. Taking a test too early will not show if you are positive for the virus.

The person who has initial negative test should wait 14 days before returning to work to make sure they do not develop a COVID-19 infection.

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

Q:  Louisiana is allowing businesses to reopen, is there any guidance to help do so 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: 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. 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?

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 has symptoms associated with COVID-19. In the private sector, the employee should follow the directive of their employer.

 

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:  What is the guidance for restaurant employees?

Restaurants must follow these directives: Employees who are sick with a fever or respiratory symptoms should not go to work at the restaurant.

For all other employees:

 Q: What is the guidance for medical employees that have been exposed to COVID-19?

 

If this employee is critical to the medical care, response to COVID-19, or assistance with daily living, they can continue to work but they need to wear a mask at work, and monitor their health with 2x daily temperature checks.  If they feel ill (fever >100.4 and/or respiratory symptoms), they need to immediately leave work and self-isolate. They need to call their healthcare provider to possibly be tested.

 

If this person is not part of the direct response to COVID-19, then they should go home, self-isolate, and monitor their symptoms, and call their healthcare provider to possibly be tested.

 

Q: What is the guidance for employees with suspect or confirmed COVID-19?

Please use the following updated symptom-based strategy to return to normal activity following a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19:

Continue isolation until:

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

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: If I work in a business that has been designated as “essential” and I have possibly been exposed to someone with COVID-19, should I still go to work?

Some businesses have been designated as essential per the Governor’s order and remain open. These include healthcare, emergency response and other businesses that provide vital infrastructure roles within communities. Employees of these businesses should contact their employer for guidance.  However, an individual is permitted to continue work following potential exposure, provided they do not have symptoms. In these instances, someone who has been exposed should self-monitor by taking their temperature before each work shift to ensure they remain fever-free before starting work.

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

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:  When can I 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. 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: I am an office worker but my company is near the top of a high-rise building. What about the risk of riding in elevators, or simply pushing the buttons?

CDC guidance is to limit use and occupancy of elevators to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. Elevator buttons, like doors, doorknobs, faucets, and water fountains, must be cleaned frequently.

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 does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about reopening workplaces?

The CDC has its own guidelines for employers: Stop handshaking; facilitate hand washing at the door and send emails to employees at regular intervals reminding them to wash their hands; remind employees to avoid touching their faces and to cover coughs and sneezes; disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly.

The full guidance can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/office-buildings.html

Q:  Are there any other recommendations for employees and employers?

Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible; when not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces; consider adjusting or postponing large meetings or gatherings; and assess the risks of business travel. Employers should also ensure strict hygiene in cafeterias. Other recommendations include adding space betWhat 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

ween workers and staggering work schedules. Employees should not share phones, desks, offices, work tools, or equipment, when possible.

Q:  Where I work, an employee's spouse tested positive for COVID-19. Is there a quarantine period for that employee before they can return to work?

The Department of Health advises people who have been a close contact (within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes) of a known case, to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

If some is a contact of a contact, that person should monitor themselves for symptoms.

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

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: For businesses, are employees required to wear masks? Are there exemptions for employees with medical conditions?

Employees should follow the guidance issued by their employer. If an employee has a concern, that should be a discussion between the employee and employer.

Q: I want to file a complaint about a sick employee continuing to report to work.

Direct them to call 225-354-3555.

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 or more) 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. 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.

SCHOOLS and CHILDREN

Q. What is the risk to children?

Although infections in children have been reported, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19 or at greater risk of a serious illness. However, COVID-19has been associated with multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). This is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. The cause of MIS-C is unknown but many children with this condition had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Q: When will schools reopen?

Information about when and how schools will reopen, as well as virtual learning options, continue to evolve as the extent of the pandemic in Louisiana changes.

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: What about daycares and preschools?

Daycares and early learning centers run by private entities can remain open unless otherwise informed as the situation progresses. However, daycare programs should encourage children who can stay home to do so, children and staff should wash their hands frequently and they should limit child grouping.

Q: If a student or staff develops symptoms* or tests positive, what does the individual need to do?

Faculty and/or students can return to the classroom when:

Q: What should a student or staff do if they have been exposed (in close contact to a confirmed case or a person with symptoms) to COVID-19?

An individual with a known exposure should quarantine at home for 14 days past their last exposure to the case.

A close contact is any individual who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes during their infectious period, which includes the 48 hours before the day the person became sick (or the 48 hours before specimen collection if asymptomatic) until the person was isolated.

Q: When may a student or teacher who was exposed and on quarantine return to school?

These individuals should stay at home for 14 days from the last date of exposure. If they become symptomatic, they would be considered a case and need to follow end of isolation criteria to return to school.

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

An Executive Order by Gov. Edwards requires the use of face covering/mask in public settings. And, public health officials recommend that face coverings should be worn in a school setting by staff and students in third grade or higher (and children over the age of two may also wear face coverings) as they prevent transmission of COVID.

Q: Do children need to wear masks when carpooling to school in a private vehicle?

If kids are from separate households, they should wear a mask when carpooling. If they are from the same household, they do not need to.

Q: What social distancing arrangements should be made in schools and classrooms?

In order to minimize exposure risk in the classroom, health officials recommend all students be assigned seats and be discouraged from changing seats over time. Teachers should try to maintain 6 feet or greater distance from their students during class and minimize the amount of time spent closer than 6 feet to any pupil.

Q: My child came in contact with someone who is considered a close contact of a person who was exposed to COVID-19. Does my child need to stay home? If so, for how long?

Contacts of a person who was a close contact of another person who was exposed (the primary contact) does not  stay home unless the primary contact becomes positive or symptomatic.

Q: What should teachers and/or students do if another student in the classroom notifies the school they have symptoms and are staying home?

Student and teachers should stay home for14 days from the last date of exposure to the student who reported they have COVID-19 symptoms.

As a courtesy, the school may decide to alert others that that there has been a positive case in a classroom or school. When doing this, the school should be clear that this information is for awareness only and that others do not need to stay home,

Q: How many students can we allow to be positive or be required to stay at home before the entire school is shifted to virtual learning?

To prevent needing to move an entire class to virtual learning, seats in the classroom should be assigned and maintained to limit the number of students who would potentially be exposed to a case in the class and need to quarantine.

If two or more people test positive or have COVID symptoms within 14 days of each other, the entire class should move to virtual learning until 14 days past the last day a symptomatic person was in class.

The school may decide to move an entire school to virtual learning if the number of staff how are staying at home hinders the operation of in-person learning. Schools are asked to call the local Office of Public Health cases-by-case guidance.

Q: Will schools require a negative test before a student or employee who has been exposed or is positive to be allowed to return?

No, testing to determine end of isolation is no longer recommended except for people who are severely immunocompromised in consultation with their physician.

Q: If a student who uses a bus to get to school tests positive, who else should stay home?

Anyone riding the same bus who was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more starting 2 days before symptoms developed, or 2 days before specimen collection if asymptomatic, should also stay home for 14 days from their last exposure to the positive individual.

If it cannot be determined who was a close to the person who tested positive, all riders on the bus should stay home from school for 14 days.

Q: If a student on a bus tests positive, should the bus driver also stay home for 14 days?

If the bus driver was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more starting 2 days before symptoms developed, or 2 days before specimen collection if asymptomatic,  the driver would need to stay home

Q: If a student tests positive who has been practicing on a sports team outdoors and everyone has been more than 6 feet apart at all times, does the team need to quarantine?

In this situation, nobody needs to quarantine if they were more than 6 feet apart at all times. If anyone was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more or any other type of close contact, they would need to quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure.

Q: Does getting routine childhood vaccines make children more susceptible to COVID-19?

Childhood vaccines are the best protection against illnesses. Studies have never found a connection between a vaccine for one disease increasing the likelihood for getting another illness.

Q: When looking at close contact, if students are sitting at a table with masks and there are also Plexiglas dividers should districts still consider only the main two indicators of close contact which are: was the student within 6 feet and was it more than 15 minutes?

The Plexiglas would serve as an extra layer of protection.  However, if students are within 6 feet of each other for more than 15 minutes, even if they are separated by a Plexiglas barrier they will be considered a “close contact” in the case of a positive COVID test in the classroom. As always, it was recommended that each situation be discussed with local and health officials as each situation has unique details.

Q: What should families do who share custody?

Families are free to allow their children to visit/stay with their caretakers. Simply follow social distancing and hygiene recommendations.

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.

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:  Are direct service workers who work with people with disabilities considered essential and allowed to work during the stay at home order?

Yes, direct service workers are considered essential and are allowed to travel to and from the home of the person they serve. The Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities has put out guidance, as well as a letter authorizing travel during the COVID-19 emergency.

 

Q:  Are all Adult Day Cares/Home and Community Based centers required to follow the Governor’s order to remain closed?

 

All Adult Day Care (ADC), Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) and Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) centers were closed effective March 23, 2020 at 5 PM and they have remained closed.

Providers will be informed when they are allowed to reopen and will receive guidance on precautions, limitations, and requirements related to reopening.

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.

PHASE 3 REOPENING GUIDANCE

What does Phase 3 mean?

The new Phase 3 COVID order loosens restrictions on a number of businesses, churches and schools. Under the new order that will be in place for 28 days, expiring on October 9, restaurants, churches, salons, spas, gyms and other businesses will be able to open at a maximum of 75 percent of their occupancy, with social distancing in place.

Masks and Face Coverings: The statewide mask mandate is still in place.

Bars: Bars will remain closed to on-premises consumption in parishes with high incidence of COVID as evidenced by their test positivity rate. The Phase 3 order outlines how bars may begin to re-open for on-premises consumption: Parishes with a positivity rate of 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks may opt-in to open bars for on-premises consumption.

Other Alcohol Consumption: Phase 3 also prohibits the sale or service of alcohol for on premises consumption at all establishments, including restaurants and casinos, after 10 p.m.

Indoor Social Gatherings: Gatherings such as weddings or receptions, will be limited to the lesser of 250 people or 50 percent capacity of the facility. Outdoors, crowd sizes are limited to 50 percent capacity, up to 250 people, if people will be in close proximity and social distancing is not possible.

Casinos: Casinos will stay at 50 percent capacity and 75 percent of their gaming positions under the new order.

Sporting Events: Events like college football games, will operate at a lesser capacity of 25 percent and without alcohol sales.

Nursing Home Visitation: This is still prohibited in Phase 3, but the Louisiana Department of Health is working on a pilot program to begin to allow visitation at nursing homes with no new cases for 14 days and in parishes without high numbers of COVID-19. LDH will release details in the coming days.

Schools: The Department of Education will allow school systems to increase their school bus occupancy from 50% to 75%, allow group sizes to expand from 25 to 50 and allow students to participate in band and choir.

The Phase 3 Order continues to recommend those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 stay at home unless they must leave for an essential activity, such as getting food or medical care. People with higher risk include those with compromised immune systems, those 65 and older and those with conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart or kidney disease and obesity. Consult the CDC guidance on high risk conditions for more information.

Other Information: The State Fire Marshal’s office and the Louisiana Department of Health will share information with business owners via the Open Safely portal, which is located at opensafely.la.gov.

 

Q: Why were these measures put in place?

It is important that people understand the seriousness of this situation. When the outbreak began in March, we went from zero positive cases of COVID-19 to more than 100 cases a day. Today, we continue to see a daily increase of cases. Louisiana continues to have one of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19 cases in the entire country.

Everyone is still urged to take aggressive measures to contain this virus. We all have a role to play in protecting not just ourselves but our neighbors, friends and everyone else we interact with.

Q:  Can non-essential medical procedures resume?

Yes. All medical and dental services can resume per the Phase 2 Reopening. Contact your healthcare provider for specific details and questions.

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 about the Phase 3 reopening, visit the Governor’s website at: https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2532

For information 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.

RESTAURANTS, BARS, PUBLIC GATHERINGS

Q: Have restaurants, casinos and other places been closed?

Under the Phase 3 guidelines that are effective September 11, restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops are now allowed to let their patrons eat on-site, but must limit the number of customers allowed inside to no more than 75 percent capacity. Guidance for bars is is the question below.

 Q:Are bars allowed to be open? How should they be operating?

Bars will remain closed to on-premises consumption in parishes with high incidence of COVID as evidenced by their test positivity rate. The Phase 3 order outlines how bars may begin to re-open for on-premises consumption: Parishes with a positivity rate of 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks may opt-in to open bars for on premises consumption.

Q: Which parishes are bars allowed to be open?

As of September 17, 2020 Plaquemines, Acadia, St. Landry, and Jefferson Davis parishes.          

Q: What defines a bar?

An ATC AG type license.        

Q:  Is there any guidance to help restaurants, bars and other businesses reopen 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:  Can a DJ service reopen under Phase 2? Is it considered a live venue?

Yes, under the Phase 3 guidance, event centers can reopen at 50 percent capacity. The owner/manager of the facility must enforce social distancing requirements (attendees should maintain a distance six feet between one another) and encourage attendees to wear masks.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of people who are allowed to gather in one place?

Under the Phase 3 Order that took effect September 11, gatherings such as weddings or receptions, will be limited to the lesser of 250 people or 50 percent capacity of the facility. Outdoors, crowd sizes are limited to 50 percent capacity, up to 250 people, if people will be in close proximity and social distancing is not possible. This limit does not apply to grocery stores and other retail businesses.

Q: Do public gatherings of over 50 people include places like Wal-Mart and grocery stores?

No, grocery stores, Walmarts, and other similar businesses can remain open to the public. When shopping for groceries or anything else, limit contact with groups of people, use a mask or face covering, stay at least 6 feet from others and use a sanitizing wipe on your cart. Wash your hands as soon as you get home and avoid touching your face.

Q: What are the rules for large outdoor gatherings like I'm seeing at ball parks or outdoor concerts?

Events such as football games, will operate at a lesser capacity of 25 percent and without alcohol sales. All individuals arriving to these events should be wearing face coverings until setting up seating or being seated with the appropriate 6-foot distancing from other groups. Once seated, you can remove your face covering and stay seated. If you need to get up and move from your seated space, a face covering should be worn.

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 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 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 of an infected person for at least 15 minutes 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:  Have we hit our peak of the outbreak?

We are still seeing increases in total cases and hospitalizations. The virus is spreading because it has not gone away making continued social distancing important. As businesses reopen and as we begin to gather more in public, it is even more important today to avoid crowds, wear a mask while in public and

Q.Why are we seeing these increases in cases and hospitalizations?

The majority of these new cases, 90 percent, are coming from community spread, meaning from people who are going out in public. Gov. Edwards said too many people are refusing to wear masks in public and are not careful about social distancing. He is asking all Louisianans to be good neighbors, to stay at home when they are experiencing symptoms, to avoid crowds, to stay away from others and to wear a mask when not around their immediate household whether inside or outside. stay at least 6 feet away from others when you do go out.  

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: I am a medical provider and a member(s) of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19.  What is the proper procedure for notifying our patients?

Providers should notify patients in such a situation that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus. However, they should not identify the staff member. They should also describe the steps they are taking to ensure a safe facility such as practicing social distancing, taking temperature checks of staff and looking for respiratory symptoms. When a staff member has tested positive, that person self-isolates until he/she meets the guidelines for returning to work.

Q: Where can hospitals discharge COVID-19 patients who still need inpatient care?

The State of Louisiana is working to identify and open appropriate alternate care settings as quickly as possible. This weekend, such a facility will open at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Termed a Medical Monitoring Station, this facility is for COVID-19 positive individuals transferred from hospitals who no longer need an acute care hospital bed, but are not well enough to be discharged to their homes or would be a danger to others in their household while still infectious.

Q: Is there a shortage of ventilators for hospitals?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has taken action to help increase the supply of ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors, and ventilator accessories, as well as filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) due to shortages during COVID-19. The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization that allows for the emergency use in health care settings of certain ventilators, anesthesia gas machines modified for use as ventilators, and positive pressure breathing devices modified for use as ventilators (collectively referred to as “ventilators”), ventilator tubing connectors, and ventilator accessories that meet FDA criteria for safety and performance.

 Q: Are places like Wal-Mart and grocery stores going to stay open?

Yes, grocery stores can remain open to the public. When shopping for groceries or anything else, limit contact with groups of people, stay at least 6 feet from others and use a sanitizing wipe on your cart. Wash your hands as soon as you get home and avoid touching your face.

Q: What about childcare centers and preschools?

Daycares and early learning centers run by private entities can remain open unless otherwise informed as the situation progresses. However, daycare programs should encourage children who can stay home to do so, children and staff should wash their hands frequently and they should limit child grouping.

Q: Can children still get school meals?

Yes, according to the Governor’s order. It requires schools to use appropriate social distancing 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.

 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 current COVID-19 situation in Louisiana?

In June, data is showing a concerning rise in coronavirus case and hospitalizations. We are concerned because these new infections are because of community spread. To address, we are strongly advising people to use the proven strategies to prevent spreading the virus. These include avoiding crowds, wearing a mask while in public and staying at least 6 feet away from others when you do go out.

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: 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: Is the Louisiana Department of Health concerned about shipping channels such as the Port of New Orleans being affected by COVID-19?

Department officials met with the Coast Guard to discuss potential issues with the COVID-19 virus once it became clearer that the virus was spreading globally. We don’t think there will be potential for spreading the virus through shipping channels.

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

All licensed healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, in the state are required to restrict visitors to those deemed essential, vital or necessary to the care and well-being of patients, clients and residents. This prohibition will be in place until it is lifted by the Louisiana Department of Health.

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.

Nursing homes and assisted living centers are also undergoing baseline and repeated testing of both residents and staff to reduce and try to eliminate COVID-19 in these settings.

Q:  For the purposes of Covid-19 related restrictions of movement, are Assisted Living facilities classified as Nursing Homes? Will all Assisted Living facility residents all be tested for Covid-19 soon?

Because they congregate in nature, and typically serve an older population, assisted living facilities (ALFs) are at high risk of COVID-19 spreading and affecting their residents. They must follow the same guideline as nursing facilities.  These facilities are also included in the State’s COVID-19 testing program. Although the testing may be done differently in each region of the state, the goal is to recommend and provide testing to all residents and staff at these facilities. Retesting will also be conducted as needed.

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. Chicot State Park is set to reopen on June 26.

RESOURCES

Q:  I am concerned about some businesses that I frequent are not following the social distancing, wearing masks and other guidelines for reopening. Is there an agency that follows up on whether or not businesses are complying with the reopening requirement?

If someone has a concern about a business that has reopened and is not following state guidelines, they can call the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal at 1-800-256-5452.

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 about the Phase 3 reopening, visit the Governor’s website at: https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2532

 For information 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: Where can I find information and posters for businesses and other venues about wearing masks?

Masking posters for business and other venues as well as resources can be found at the following links:  http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/3878

 Links directly to posters:

o   Option 1: http://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Coronavirus/resources/Face-Mask-Sign-Option-1.pdf

o   Option 2: http://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Coronavirus/resources/Face-Mask-Sign-Option-2.pdf

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.

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 violations relative to the governor's order.

 You can either direct them to call, or forward them to, 1-800-256-5452.

Q: I want to file a complaint about a sick employee continuing to report to work.

Direct them to call 225-354-3555.

Q: If I have a concern about a school being in violation of the return to school guidance, who should I contact?

Since Louisiana’s school facilities first closed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, school systems and the Department of Education have worked to ensure the safety of students and staff was of utmost priority. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) adopted minimum health and safety standards for reopening schools. If you would like to register a specific school or system health and safety concern you feel is in violation of one of these standards, please email 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 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 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: What can I do if my landlord is telling me that I am being evicted because I can't pay my rent right now?

Your landlord must get a court order to evict you, and it is illegal for your landlord to lock you out, dispose of your belongings or cut off your utilities without going through the court eviction process.

Federal law prevents evictions until July 25, 2020, for certain rentals covered by the CARES Act. If you live in a multifamily building or single-family home that has a federally backed mortgage, late fees are prohibited. Eviction courts have been suspended in Louisiana until at least April 30, 2020.

If you have been served with legal papers regarding eviction, contact an attorney for assistance. For more information on how to find an attorney and a list of legal services offices in Louisiana, visit www.Louisianalawhelp.org 

Louisiana Housing Corporation resources for renters impacted COVID-19

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.

Q: Will workers who travel out of state be allowed to come home if the state is quarantined?

The State of Louisiana has not been quarantined.

Q:  If we travel to the Bahamas in late June or July, will we have to quarantine in a hotel in New Orleans for the 14 days or at home? I am a coordinator for a Senior trip and was told that we had to stay in a hotel for two weeks at our cost.

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health care systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.

Before making plans to travel to the Bahamas or anywhere else outside of the U.S. people should review CDC travel guidelines found here for the most up-to-date recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html

       Q: My family travelled to Jacksonville, Florida where we stayed for five days.    With Florida seeing a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, when we return to Louisiana, are we required to quarantine before going back to work?

No. Louisiana does not have a quarantine requirements based on travel. However, just like everywhere else, the Louisiana Department of Health recommends that people monitor their health. If they develop any signs of illness, they should stay home and call their doctor.

SUMMERTIME ACTIVITIES

Q. Is it safe to go swimming?

Experts don’t believe the virus can spread very easily through the water, whether it is salt water of chlorinated, swimming pool water. The virus isn’t going to move across the water from one person to another. The risk, however, is getting too close to others while in the pool. That’s the same risk as if you are not in a pool.

Q. What about going to summer camps or large get-togethers like family barbeques?

Camping, fishing and barbecuing are all ow risk activities. Families should get outside. To be safe, identify who is in your close group – know who they are because that contributes to your exposure risk. Know if there are members of your close group who are at a higher risk … such as over 65 or who have underlying health conditions.

What is riskier, are the things you have to do to get to the campsite or the fishing site. This includes stopping at a gas station or going shopping for supplies. This is where you really need to take the precautions; wear masks, use hand sanitizer and keep your distance from others.

Q: For summer camps, can children stay overnight? What about adults?

Guidance for summer camps has been developed by the Louisiana Department of Education. They recommend that all questions about these camps be emailed to them at LDOECOVID19support@la.gov

Q. Are there any summertime activities that people should avoid altogether?

You should avoid anything that involves a crowd. When you are real close to others, your or someone else’s respiratory droplets can spread the virus. The same distance requirements apply whether indoors or outside.

Q. What about going out to eat?

You should always try to decrease your risks. If the restaurant offers outdoor seating, use that option because eating outside is safer. You should also judge the establishment to get a sense as to how seriously they take these precautions. If you see a whole bunch of people crowding around one another, that’s not a place you want to go to. It’s not worth the risk.

Q. What about hotels and vacation homes … what precautions should we take when renting a room or another place to stay?

Make sure that wherever go stay, that the business – Airbnb, hotel and condo operator – should thoroughly clean and wipe down between guests. This includes cleaning hard surfaces, door handles, bathrooms.

You should also wipe things down yourself with a clean, sanitized cloth rag. The biggest risk is when you are in the lobby when you are checking in or leaving. Be sure to keep distance between yourself and others. You want to make sure you are wearing your mask and that other people are wearing their masks. That will increase your safety.

Q. Is it safe to travel this summer?

When traveling by place, use your mask on the flight and while in the airport. This will go a long way to prevent the spread of the virus. People should be aware of all of hard surfaces they touch. Limit the amount that you touch countertops, door handles, handrails, escalator rails.  Use hand sanitizer after touching these surfaces.

Also, do what you can to avoid lines. If you see a line forming, just hang back and wait until that lines gets shorter. Be cognizant of the people around you. And, if possible, avoid situation where you would be within six feet of others.

Q. Is it possible to have a safe, summer vacation?

Yes, it is possible to be safe on a summer vacation. But, families may want to reevaluate where they want to go. Today, driving a few hours is a more appealing option than getting on a plane because it’s a lot simpler.

You should watch the news to see what’s going on in the locations that you are considering as a destination. If I was planning a trip to a place where they are experiencing a growing outbreak, I would reconsider and go someplace else. Families should take this all into consideration.

Anytime you travel there are risks. There are things families can do to mitigate their risks because you can’t eliminate all risks.  You have to look at your family situation, take into account who is in your family; do you have older family members or do some members have underlying conditions, take those into account and make a responsible decision.

OUTDATED FAQs

Q: Is there a rebate or government program that gives money to frontline workers who have been working during COVID-19?

Yes, The Louisiana Legislature approved providing a one-time $250 rebate for eligible workers earning $50,000 per year or less, who spent at least 200 hours responding to or mitigating the COVID-19 crisis from March 22, 2020, through May 14, 2020. The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) will accept applications from July 15, - Oct. 31, 2020 from workers employed in essential critical infrastructure jobs on or after March 11, 2020. However, funding is limited for this rebate program and eligible workers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Please go to the Frontline Workers Rebate Program Website: https://frontlineworkers.la.gov/ for more information about eligibility requirements and application process online or by printable form. Questions regarding eligibility for or applying to the rebate programs should be directed to the Louisiana Department of Revenue at (855) 307-3893.

Q. Will it soon be a requirement for people to wear masks?

Although some communities in other states have made it a requirement for people to wear masks when out in public, this is not the case in Louisiana. The Governor and health officials are urging people to better adhere to restrictions, but will consider sanctioning places that don’t follow the rules. One way to do this would be to revoke business permits.

Q:  When you hear “presumptive positive,” what does presumptive mean?

As of March, 14, the CDC has noted that Louisiana’s lab tests have proven to be reliable and confirmation of positive lab results is no longer needed Results will now be considered positive instead of presumptive positive.

“Presumptive positive” means that a test conducted by the State Lab has come back positive. The “presumptive” becomes “confirmed” only after the State’s test is confirmed by the CDC.

 Q: With Texas’ new 14-day self-quarantine for anyone driving to Texas from Louisiana, how does this affect parents who have joint custody with one parent living in Texas and the other in Louisiana?

TEXAS Resources:

To speak with a parenting time specialist through Texas Access, please call 1-(866) 292-4636 Monday thru Friday from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. Calls will be answered in English and in Spanish.

TheTexas Supreme Court emergency ruling that came out on March 17, 2020, that provides guidance to parents with orders, and gives helpful information about access and visitation and/or possession schedule interruption related to Covid19.

This guidance can be found:

          https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1446106/209043.pdffbclid=IwAR3IW0yGc3IbcCSLiBuU1h9QqywhV0BnwpuJsRRz39p2M7bqJTBJud5trVc

Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC) has many answers and scenario queries to address Covid19. Parents can also receive free and reduced fee legal advice and help. For more info:  www.TexasLawHelp.org

Q: I am a recent traveler from Italy. Can I request a COVID-19 test from my provider for peace of mind? I am willing to pay any applicable cost.

COVID-19 testing is only currently available to sick people due to a limited number of tests available. You should monitor your health for 14-days following your return from travel. If you do become ill in the 14-days (especially with fever and cough), stay home and call your doctor. Your doctor can assist with the necessary steps to determine if testing would be appropriate for you. At this time, there is no test for well people who just want to know if they have been exposed.

Q: I am a recent traveler from Italy and experiencing flu like symptoms. I reported this to my healthcare provider at a recent visit and no testing was offered. What should I do next?

Healthcare providers work with the Office of Public Health to determine if a patient should be tested for COVID-19. It is possible that a flu test was done (and was positive), which would be responsible for the symptoms (and be the reason for no COVID-19 testing). If you continue to have concerns or if your symptoms worsen, please contact your healthcare provider.

Q: How do we explain the average citizen waiting 5-7 days or longer for test results while someone famous can get results in three days?

Tests run at commercial labs take longer to get back than tests run at the State Lab.  The State does not control the testing time for private labs.

Q: How can I get my results if I was tested at the Mahalia Jackson, UNO Lakefront and the Alario Center in New Orleans?

If you were tested at the Mahalia Jackson Theater, UNO Lakefront Arena, Xavier University, First Grace Methodist Church, or another testing site in Orleans Parish operated by the New Orleans Health Department, please call 311 (from within Orleans Parish) for test results.

If you were tested at the Alario Center or the Ames Blvd Community Center in Jefferson Parish, please email Covidresults@jeffparish.net  with your name and a contact number, and a representative from the Parish will call you.

Q: What precautions should businesses take that remain open in order to provide essential services?

 

Businesses such as these that remain open should follow these guidelines:

Q: I understand that some hospitals are not complying with orders to postpone elective procedures. Why?

People still have urgent medical needs that require an elective procedure and cannot be postponed. The decision whether a procedure can be postponed is at the discretion of the clinician.

Q. Officials have declared an emergency. Does that mean we’re going to get emergency benefits?

No emergency benefits have been authorized by the federal government at this time. If there are new options available, the Department of Children and Family Services will make announcements on their Facebook page and at www.DCFS.la.gov.  If you are not already a SNAP recipient, you can apply for SNAP online. More information can be found at www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP.

Q: Are all healthcare facilities prohibited from providing medical and surgical procedures?

The order from the State Health Officer directs all licensed healthcare facilities in Louisiana to postpone all medical and surgical procedures. They were not ordered to close.

 

Instead, they are instructed to postpone non-essential treatment and procedures for 30 days. These instructions are in place until April 30, 2020.  Many offices will remain open to conduct these services and procedures. The decision as to which procedures are “essential” are up to the practitioner to decide.

Small group sessions (10 people or less) are allowed but social distancing practices and strict hygiene and cleaning requirements must be in place.  

Group members should check for signs and symptoms (fever, cough) before participating in the session, and those with fever or respiratory symptoms should not attend.

Q: If I work in an “essential” business that is still open, but I’ve possibly been exposed to someone with COVID-19, should I still go to work?

Yes. Some personnel that fill essential infrastructure roles within communities are permitted to continue work following potential exposure, provided they remain asymptomatic. Following an exposure, personnel should self-monitor taking their temperature before each work shift to ensure they remain fever-free, and assess their symptoms prior to their starting work.

Q: Does the restriction of gatherings of 10+ apply to “corporate” companies with open offices (no walls) with people working closer than 6 ft from one another?

People should try and stay 6 feet from each other to reduce spread.

Q: What can people do if they know others who have been diagnosed presumptive positive and they are not taking COVID-19 seriously and possibly spreading it to people? How can they report them?

You should practice social distancing and avoid people who are or who may have a COVID-19 infection.

Q: What is the process for out-of-state medical professionals to enlist to help Louisiana?

They may help by registering with volunteer organizations (Louisiana Volunteers in Action) and by applying for possible positions with local medical facilities in Louisiana that have staffing needs, such as hospitals and nursing homes.  You can register at http://covid-19lavolunteers.org/

 

Q: When is it necessary to acquire a Registered Nurse Temporary Disaster Permit?

For the COVID-19 response in Louisiana, the Governor has issued an Executive Order that temporarily allows RNs and APRNs to work in Louisiana for COVID-19 response for employment and for volunteer services without the disaster permit until April 30, 2020.  

 

The RN or APRN must have an active, unrestricted, unencumbered license to practice in any U.S. state, territory, or district; must not have any charges pending against his/her license; and must not be enrolled in an Alternate to Discipline Program. Otherwise, the RN must acquire the permit from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.

 

To apply for this permit, complete this form from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing’s website: http://www.lsbn.state.la.us/Portals/1/Documents/Forms/DisasterPermitAffidavit.pdf

Q:  Are employees of essential businesses that are closed to the public, like crawfish farms, required to wear masks and protective gear for their employees during Phase 1 of the reopening?

Yes, if they work within 6 feet of other employees or if they will be seeing customers.

Q:  Are employers expected to provide that gear?

Either the employer or the employee can provide cloth face masks.

Q:  I have shared/Joint custody or access and visitation with another parent that resides in Texas/Florida.  How do I handle the 14-day quarantine requirement recently announced by the State of Texas?

Louisiana courts advise that both parents do the best they can to follow the court order. The courts understand that COVID-19 has presented certain problems when it comes to intrastate Custody/Visitation Orders.  Both the states of Texas and Florida are under a 14-day quarantine.

The courts urge both parents to consider what is in the best interest of the minor child or children in this matter. Both parties are free to agree to modify the current order to fit the safety needs of the minor child or children to fit those needs.

If a Motion for Contempt is filed , the court will hear testimony from both parties and will make a decision on a case by case basis. Please be advised that a Motion for Contempt is not considered an “ Emergency Motion” and will be heard when court is reopened to the public.

 

Q:  I have shared/Joint custody or access and visitation with another parent in another state. Does it change visitation requirements?

Louisiana courts advise that both parents do the best they can to follow the court order. The courts understand that COVID-19 has presented certain problems when it comes to intrastate Custody/Visitation Orders.

The courts urge both parents to consider what is in the best interest of the minor child or children in this matter. Both parties are free to agree to modify the current order to fit the safety needs of the minor child or children to fit those needs.

If a Motion for Contempt is filed , the court will hear testimony from both parties and will make a decision based on a case by case basis. Please be advised that a Motion for Contempt is not considered an “ Emergency Motion” and will be heard when court is reopened to the public.

OUTDATED: STAY AT HOME ORDERS

Q:  Is there any guidance for youth camps and summer programs that are ready to reopen?

The CDC has developed a tool to assist directors or administrators in making (re)opening decisions regarding youth programs and camps during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tool, Youth Programs and Camps Decision Tool,  can be found on the CDC’s website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare.

Q: What is a Stay at Home order?

A Stay at Home order is the Governor directing people to avoid going out in public unless it is absolutely necessary.

Q: What is the difference between “Stay at Home” and “social distancing”?

Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing.

Stay at home means:

 

Q: It has been a month since stay at home orders were issued in Louisiana and throughout the country. Is there evidence these measures work?

Possibly. Researchers recently studied four U.S. metropolitan areas (Seattle, San Francisco, New York City and New Orleans). They found that policies that were put in place to ensure social distancing are making an impact on decreasing the overall community burden of disease and slowing the spread of infections.

Q: Why is this Stay at Home order necessary?

Right now, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout our state and some of our communities and, without taking additional measures, Louisiana’s health care system will have more sick people than it can care for. The state is working to increase its health care capacity, but people also need to take measures to prevent the spread of this illness. Our medical community is working overtime to take care of people who are sick, but it needs help from the public to keep even more people from needing care.

 

Q: When is it okay for me to leave my home?

People can leave their homes to do things like buy groceries or food, pick up medicine or go to work if their job is essential. If you have to go out. To protect one another, everyone is asked to wear masks or other types of face coverings anytime we interact with those who are not part of our household. We also must continue to stay six feet away from those who are not part of our household.

Q: What should families do who share custody?

Families are free to allow their children to visit/stay with their caretakers. Simply follow social distancing and hygiene recommendations.

 Q:  Is traveling to meet child custody requirements allowed during the Stay at Home Order?

Yes. The exchange of custody meetings between parents, as long as they occur at the home of either parent OR at a location that’s not a public gathering place, falls is allowed. This exchange falls within the “Going to and from the home of a family member” exception in the Governor’s directive.

Q:  What should a parent do if one parent and the child are quarantined at home and the other parent is not?

The Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order has an exception for going to and from the home of a family member. Once the second parent has custody of the child, that parent should also follow the Stay-at-Home order.

Q:  I have shared/joint custody or access and visitation custody of a minor child.  Can our court-order visitation schedule be changed during the Governor’s Shelter in Place Order?

Louisiana Courts advise that the Shelter in Place Order does not affect a current Custody/Visitation Court Order.

 

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, both parties are free to adopt a mutual agreement and modify the current order that is in place without having to set a court date to do so.

 

In the event that both parties are unable to agree, the court urges both parties to refer back to the requirements of the original court order.

 

If a Motion for Contempt is filed , the court will hear testimony from both parties and will make a decision on a case by case basis. Please be advised that a Motion for Contempt is not considered an “ Emergency Motion” and will be heard when court is reopened to the public.

 

 Q:  What if I need to get tested for coronavirus or to go to the doctor?

People can leave their homes for medical treatment or to get testing, but they should call their health care provider or doctor before doing so for advice. Your doctor may be able to help you via telemedicine or decide if you need to be tested by asking you questions on the phone. Do not show up to a testing site without consulting a medical professional first, because you may need a doctor’s order to qualify for a test. Unless it is an emergency, do not go to a healthcare facility without calling first, because you may put yourself at risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

 

Q: What businesses and jobs are considered essential?

Health care workers, public safety employees, some government workers, staff of grocery stores and restaurants and employees of some business are generally considered essential workers. Businesses like manufacturers and utilities have to continue operations to support our communities.

In general, the state of Louisiana follows guidance from the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) about what infrastructure and businesses are “critical” during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more detailed information from CISA, visit this site: https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19

 

Q: Is there a protocol in place to report a business that isn't taking any effort to clean their store, despite having employees who tested positive for COVID-19?

People should avoid any place in which they have a concern. When you visit a business, take the necessary precautions: bring your own disinfecting wipes to the store, try "contactless" shopping by ordering and paying. And, stay home as much as possible.

 

The CDC offers guidance for cleaning and disinfection for businesses:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/   Click on Resources for Business and Employers.

 

Q: Are there legal protections for workers whose employers are making them come to work?

People are also advised to follow the directives of their employer. For businesses that remain open, the recommendations are to make sure all social distancing and hygiene guidance is being followed.

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: What can I do if my landlord is telling me that I am being evicted because I can't pay my rent right now?

Your landlord must get a court order to evict you, and it is illegal for your landlord to lock you out, dispose of your belongings or cut off your utilities without going through the court eviction process.

 

Federal law prevents evictions until July 25, 2020, for certain rentals covered by the CARES Act. If you live in a multifamily building or single-family home that has a federally backed mortgage, late fees are prohibited.

 

Eviction courts have been suspended in Louisiana until at least April 30, 2020.

 

If you have concerns, contact the Louisiana Housing Corporation at 225-763-8700.

Q:  We are seeing reports of large public gatherings … parties, church services, etc. How is the Stay at Home Order being enforced? Who has this responsibility/authority?

Any concerns should be addressed to local law enforcement.

Q: How will this order be enforced?

The state is working with local law enforcement to support the order. There have been rumors about military control or martial law being declared. These rumors are false.

 

Q:  Who should I contact to report a violation of the stay at home order that happened in the past – an event where kids were exposed to a large group of people while in another person’s custody?

Local law enforcement is the only entity with authority to enforce the stay-at-home order. If someone is only exposed to others, and there is no evidence they were exposed to someone with symptoms, the best course of action is to monitor the kids for symptoms and continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene.

Q: Why is this order statewide? There are not a lot of cases confirmed in my area.

COVID-19 is rapidly spreading throughout the state and we know that some people do not show symptoms for 14 days, even if they are sick. Just because no one has tested positive in your community doesn’t mean that no one is sick. By enacting this Stay at Home order statewide, Gov. Edwards is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

 

Q: Is the Governor closing Louisiana’s borders and declaring martial law?

No. This is a rumor and is not based in fact. Members of Louisiana’s National Guard are deployed in Louisiana to help support local testing sites, so you may see members of the military in your community. Martial law has not been declared. Louisiana’s borders are not closed.

Q: When is the Stay at Home order going to be lifted?

Gov. John Bel Edwards relaxed the Stay at Home order on May 11, announcing that some businesses – including restaurants, gyms, and hair salons- will be able to resume limited operations beginning Friday, May 15.

Business owners should review the updated Stay at Home order found at: https://gov.louisiana.gov/home. This is the best way to determine if a business can open.

Information about the Governor’s Stay At Home Order:

All information about the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, can be found on the Governor’s website www.gov.la.gov   

Gov. John Bel Edwards further relaxed the Stay at Home order on June 1, announcing that more businesses can reopen and that business can have a maximum capacity of 50 percent occupancy beginning Friday, June 5. This is known as the Phase 2 reopening and includes:

Bars, shopping malls, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, racetracks, museums, zoos, aquariums, massage establishments, spas, tattoo pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks, and event and wedding venues.

For a guide listing businesses that can be open at any given time, visit gov.louisiana.gov/page/can-this-business-open.


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