‘It’s highly possible that this virus is already in the city of New Orleans,’ councilman says

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NEW ORLEANS, La (WDSU) —

New Orleans city leaders say there is a chance that the deadly coronavirus is already in our area, so local health officials are taking action.

Louisiana has no confirmed cases, but several people have been tested.

On Friday, the New Orleans Health Department will perform a series of exercises and scenarios.

It could give citizens a clear picture on how prepared the city is for a coronavirus outbreak.

Critical agencies like the Port of New Orleans, the U.S. Coast Guard, the airport and tourism leaders will be at the meeting.

City leaders said they will also assess first responders and how other front-line agencies should protect themselves and the public.

They are also expected to discuss how much cash is on hand to handle a crisis.

The New Orleans Health Department said typically FEMA doesn’t cover health emergencies and the federal government isn’t likely going to come in and rescue the city with a flood of resources if coronavirus spreads here, which would be tough news for a cash-strapped city.

“Given the fact that we had so many people sharing and passing and transferring beads, shoes, doubloons and everything else, it’s highly possible that this virus is already in the city of New Orleans, and we need to plan accordingly,” Councilman Jason Williams said.

Friday’s meeting is closed to the public. A news conference is expected after the meeting.

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