JEFFERSON, LA – On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that among other actions immediately halts any gathering of more than 250 people until Monday, April 13 and closes all K-12 public schools statewide effective Monday, March 16 resuming Monday, April 13, as Louisiana seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state. As of mid-day Friday, Louisiana has 36 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.
Jefferson Parish officials continue to closely monitor this outbreak and are in close communication with the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Public Health, along with other local, regional and national emergency service agencies and partners. According to Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng, “We are in the mitigation phase and now is the time for us to take proactive and bold steps to minimize the spread of the virus in our community and protect the health and safety of the people of Jefferson Parish from the risk of COVID-19.”
As a response to the Governor’s announcement, Jefferson Parish officials are taking the following proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of Parish employees and the general public:
- All Jefferson Parish permitted social activities regardless of size are suspended, until further notice.
- All JPRD activities will be suspended, until further notice.
- All non-essential and social senior activities in Jefferson Parish are suspended, until further notice; however, food distribution will continue.
- All events at Jefferson Parish facilities will be canceled and postponed, until further notice; this includes events at the Jefferson Parish Libraries, Jefferson Parish Animal Shelters, Alario Center and Jefferson Performing Arts Society.
- All non-essential programming at Jefferson Parish Community Centers, Senior Centers and Head Start Centers are suspended, until further notice.
- There will be limited public access to all Jefferson Parish Government facilities for essential functions to reduce the amount of face-to-face public interaction.
- All essential Jefferson Parish Departments will continue operations of services during this period.
The Jefferson Parish Transit Department will continue service and is working alongside Transdev and health and security officials, as well as industry leaders for updates and best practices regarding the Coronavirus. The Transit Department’s action plan includes increasing sanitization efforts, which includes daily cleaning of all 41 buses and 20 paratransit vehicles; mounting hand sanitizer dispensers to all Buses and Paratransit vehicles next week; regular announcements on all buses and on every route to “Wash Hands Often” in both English and Spanish; and a plan for adjusted levels of service and routes, as needed.
COVID-19 symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately; the CDC recommends that you call ahead, which will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Cover your cough.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who are sick.
Citizens looking for information about COVID-19 can dial 211 or text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for the most current information about the outbreak as it becomes available. Jefferson Parish residents can also text JPALERT to 888-777 for real-time local updates. For updates on the state’s response to the coronavirus situation, visit LDH.louisiana.gov/Coronavirus. Additional resources are also available from the CDC at www.coronavirus.gov/.