The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is reporting the first case of COVID-19 in Rapides Parish.
The report is part of the number of cases DHH updated on its Coronavirus website at 5:30 Thursday evening. Its shows 392 cases now in Louisiana.
We have confirmed with Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital that the patient is currently being treated there.
In a statement, hospital officials said:
"On March 19, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini received a presumptive positive result for a patient with COVID-19. Out of respect for our patient and in following HIPAA guidelines, we are limited in what we can share. We can say that we tested, identified and isolated this patient..
"We want to be perfectly clear – CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System remains a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients and their families, our Associates and this community we serve.
"We continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for health care facilities, and our providers are working together non-stop and with authorities and our local health care community to prepare and respond when called upon. The CDC guidelines and our efforts are in place to ensure public health and to ensure our hospital is a safe place for all to receive care."
In the meantime,The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Louisiana Office of Public Health continue to closely monitor this outbreak.
“We expected as testing expanded more positive results would be found,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “We have been preparing for this and believe we are as ready as we can be. We continue to ask people to remain calm and follow the public health guidance we have been receiving, which emphasizes the need for social distancing, taking steps to minimize face-to-face contact and following stringent hygiene practices, including washing your hands thoroughly. And, if you experience symptoms, including fever and cough, please stay home, call your primary care physician and don’t expose others.”
City of Alexandria officials are working with Pineville Mayor Clarence R. Fields as well as the Rapides Parish Police Jury, local municipal leaders and public health officials. Mayor Hall told KALB Thursday that there will be a news conference at some point Friday with local officials.
To prevent the spread of infection, the Louisiana Department of Health is heavily engaged in priority public health actions. These actions include, but are not limited to:
-working with healthcare facilities with presumptive patients to identify exposed healthcare workers and make appropriate recommendations;
-ensuring all recommended infection control precautions are implemented in the healthcare facilities until we determine that the patient is no longer infectious,
-notifying and monitoring close contacts;
-coordinating with CDC
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