(KNOE/WAFB) – The U.S. Surgeon General and Gov. Edwards addressed the latest COVID-19 issues in Louisiana on March 12. You can watch the full press conference above and read excerpts below.
As of March 12 at 4:50 p.m. state health officials reported the following coronavirus cases:
- 19 presumptive positive cases
- 0 confirmed by the CDC
- 0 deaths
Parish of residence:
- Caddo (1)
- Lafourche (1)
- Jefferson (2)
- Orleans (15)
Presumptive cases remain classified as such until confirmed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The CDC can take several days to return test results to the state. Testing begins in city hospitals. Patients suspected of infection are assessed by hospital staff. The staff then requests a state courier come pick up a sample that’s sent to a state lab in Baton Rouge for testing.
Gov. Edwards announced March 11 he signed an executive order to declare a public health emergency for the state to help local governments handle the situation and in an effort to prevent price gouging.
Health officials say some private laboratories in Louisiana are also able to test for COVID-19. Healthcare providers will send some samples to those private labs. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) will be notified of any presumptive positive results that come from a commercial lab.
“Appropriate treatment and precautions will immediately be put in place for any positive commercial test before that test is confirmed by the state lab, and the public will be notified,” state health officials said. Officials expect commercial testing will dramatically increase the number of people able to be tested.
The state initially received 1,000 test kits. Later, the state received two bundles of 500 kits each. Testing for a single person can take between three to four kits, Governor John Bel Edwards said, so having 2,000 kits doesn’t mean 2,000 people can be tested. In-state testing means presumptive results can be returned quicker. Officials say they’re treating presumptive positive cases as actual positives and will take action to contain the spread of the virus.
The governor advises residents to go about their lives normally compliant with CDC guidance, older folks should be careful:
“To the maximum extent possible consistent with the guidance that the CDC is putting out, people should go about their lives as normal. And so if you’re sick, stay home from work. If you’re not, go to work, and so forth. I think people should be consistent with the guidance that we’re putting out. And that’s available from the CDC, engage in commercial activities and work as you normally would. And look, this is just this is until we get through this. This is going to be hard on every aspect of Louisiana and the United States of America. Now, I will predict today that certain difficulties will be manifested over over the next several days and weeks that we can’t even imagine right now. But doing everything we can in the short term to extend the duration of this out and lower the peak of the coronavirus infections is going to be good not just for public health and safety, not just good for these providers behind me so that they can meet the demand. This can be good for business too, although it’s painful, and I fully understand that, but the sooner we can come out on the other side of this, the better off we’re all going to be and that includes the business community, that includes the national and state economy and, you’re right, that’s not the highest priority but it’s extremely important for us that we do this so I would just say engage in normal activities as you’re able to do so consistent with the CDC guidance, but if you’re older, if you have those chronic underlying health conditions, you are most vulnerable and you need to be making sure you’re extremely careful,” Edwards said.
U.S. Surgeon General addresses why Governor Edwards and President Trump haven’t been tested:
“I do think there’s some confusion out there and the governor got the question about has he been tested? There have been several legislative leaders and even the president’s been asked that question, as the governor said, if you don’t have symptoms, then it really doesn’t make sense for you to get tested. And it can actually do harm. Because if you don’t have symptoms, then you might be at the beginning stages. And that test won’t test positive. And then you are falsely reassured. And we don’t want anyone saying, Oh, I got a negative test last week, I’m fine. I’m not going to worry about these symptoms. We want people to talk to their healthcare providers. And folks often talk about the president saying anyone who wants to test needs can get a test. What he said was anyone who wants to test can get a test, if their health care provider says that they need a test and put in that puts in an order. And it’s important that folks when they’re thinking about whether or not they should be tested, they think about symptoms they call their healthcare provider. We don’t want to utilize our limited resources, testing people willy nilly. We want to utilize our resources in a targeted manner to make sure that people who are most at risk, people who are symptomatic, can get a test done quickly and can get their results back quickly. And again, at this point, if we go overboard on testing, we could give people a false sense of security and actually do more harm than good,” the surgeon general said.
Gov. Edwards says no presumptive positive test has ever been ruled negative by the CDC:
“Not a single test done by any public health lab in the United States of America, that was presumptively positive has been ruled negative by the CDC. So a presumptive positive is a positive period. And so so I don’t think we need to worry about how long it might take for the CDC to to confirm it as such. And and that is is not a use of our energy our time that is helpful. We have a positive test when when we have a presumptive positive here in our public lab,” Edwards said.
Gov. Edwards says all presumptive positives will be reported by state officials:
“When we have positive cases, presumptively positive cases, we are telling you, and we’re telling you immediately and we’re telling you factually, if you hear it somewhere else, it is not real. And we do a great disservice when individuals are out there spreading false things, it because it consumes time, and attention and potentially resources that we don’t have available for those things. And so, to my knowledge, we do not have a school aged kid anywhere in Louisiana with a presumptive positive test result,” Edwards said.
Edwards addresses the issue of school closures:
“A while ago, I talked about the duty that we owe as brothers and sisters as Louisiana’s to people who are in the heightened category for vulnerability. If we have school closures, they have to be very, very coordinated because all of a sudden, you’re going to have grandparents who are in that category, taking care of grandkids, who may be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, who are introducing the coronavirus that we’re worried about to the population that we’re worried about. And so, so not everything that you think might be helpful will actually be helpful. And so these are all hard decisions that have to be made, and we cannot make them in isolation so that they’re being made without full discussion and collaboration among all of the governmental leaders and public health officials,” Edwards said.
For young people thinking about taking a cheap trip during the outbreak, the surgeon general has this advice:
“If you have a loved one in your life and this is the most important thing I want people to take out of today. Over 60 with chronic medical conditions are the people who are going to disproportionately die from this illness. If you’re a young person and you’re traveling to, you’re traveling period, but especially if you’re traveling to a place where you know there’s coronavirus spread going on, don’t come home and then go be the grandma in the nursing home. Don’t come home and go hang out around grandpa at Easter dinner and tell them all about the great trip that you just had to Europe. Quarantine yourself from those people for 14 days so that you aren’t bringing that infection back to your loved one because that trip is not going to be worth it if you look back at it and think well that was a great trip that I had to France. Real cheap. I came back home and grandma passed away afterwards because I gave her coronavirus. Know your risk. Know your circumstances. Know how to protect yourself and your families,” Adams said.
Adams addresses panic, hoarding, and stigmatizing people of Asian descent:
“Well, I do think that panic and fear have the potential to harm more people than the coronavirus actually will at the end of the day. It’s important for people to know when you hoard, when you overreact, when you stigmatize people, and we’re hearing some horrific stories about people being stigmatized and discriminated against, because they come from Asian countries, that can hurt more people than the coronavirus,” Adams said.
Officials urge people to get all the facts at coronavirus.gov
- Public health expert warns virus not going away – KSAT San Antonio
- Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont car plant despite coronavirus health orders – CNBC
- Major health groups and charities urge Trump to reverse World Health Organization funding decision – CNN
- Public health officials push back on May opening | TheHill – The Hill
- Analysis | The Health 202: Los Angeles is racing to discover the true coronavirus infection rate – The Washington Post
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso