Louisiana officials gear up for possible coronavirus outbreak


BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33)(FOX 44) – The newest version of the Chinese coronavirus is spreading rapidly overseas, but now it seems the threat is knocking on America’s door.

Dr. Frank Welch, the medical director for the Louisiana Bureau of Community Preparedness says the coronavirus threat is nearly non-existent for the capital city. There have only been five confirmed cases in the U.S., and so far they’ve been mostly limited to the west.

Right now, welch says Louisiana’s main concern is being prepared.

All airports including the baton rouge airport will eventually put up signs listing symptoms of coronavirus, but no active screenings are scheduled since it’s a regional hub.

International airports, like New Orleans MSY, will start informing passengers of the symptoms. Local medical professionals are starting to test for it. Welch says medical staff will be looking for specific criteria to test.

“If they have the combination, I’m ill I really don’t feel well and I’m traveling back from Wuhan China, those are the people we want to take precaution with,” Welch.

Hospitals will watch for people with flu-like symptoms, fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Anyone coming in with these symptoms will be immediately asked if they’ve traveled out of the country and tested.

“Once we figure out that we have a high index of suspicion that this person has it we’re going to separate them within the healthcare environment, they’re not going to be with other patients,” Welch said.

The best way to keep yourself from contracting the disease is to wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough.

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