La. health officials address spread of new strain of coronavirus

La. health officials address spread of new strain of coronavirus
Coronavirus is similar to SARS and potentially deadly. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It has certainly been a headline grabber that a new strain of coronavirus has made its way to the states.

Now, there could be a case right next door to Louisiana in Texas.

Amidst the fears of it spreading to Louisiana, health officials are urging people to remain calm.

“You’re at much greater risk of flu right now,” said Dr. Frank Welch, medical director for Community Preparedness at the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). “Unless you have traveled to Wuhan City, China or had very close contact with someone who has traveled there in the last two weeks, the bottom line is you’re not at risk by walking past them or casual contact with them or anything like that.”

Currently, there are no cases in Louisiana.

Dr. Welch says hospitals across the state have been instructed on how to handle patients who potentially infected with the coronavirus.

"We have instructed all healthcare facilities and healthcare providers in the State of Louisiana if they see a patient with a flu-like illness, especially with fever and pneumonia-like symptoms, to take that travel history and if that person has been in Wuhan City, China over the last two weeks to make sure and call a 24-7 hotline number so they can be appropriately evaluated and tested,” Welch said.

He says if you’re worried about contracting the virus, there are a few things you can do, primarily what you would do to prevent other illnesses. Wash your hands, cover your cough, stay away from those who are sick, and if you are sick, stay home.

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