City of Shreveport rolls out coronavirus strategy

Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)...
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.(CDC)
Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 2:30 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - We are ready! That was the message delivered loud and clear from Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins — and he did so ahead of what many expect to be the inevitable arrival of the coronavirus in northwest Louisiana.

Perkins made the remarks during a Friday afternoon news conference and was joined by top health, government and school leaders all standing behind the mayor on the first floor of Government Plaza.

Dr. Martha Whyte, Regional Director for the Office of Public Health Region 7, also provided information pertinent to the coronavirus and outlined precautions that area residents can take to prevent the spread of the virus in Northwest Louisiana.

Representatives from Caddo Homeland Security, Bossier City, Caddo Parish Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System, LSU Health Sciences Center, Ochsner LSU Health, Willis-Knighton, and Committee of 100 were also present.

Dr. Whyte described how their preparedness for the arrival of the coronavirus is not something that just happened overnight.

"We've been planning for events like this for many, many years; all the way back to 9/11, Katrina, Ike and Gustav, H1N1. So, we've had a lot of plans put in play and we're using those plans today. We're improving on those plans every day."

Whyte emphasized that the most vulnerable patients to the coronavirus are those with a compromised immune system and some members of our older population.

As for treatment, the large majority of the general public is urged to treat any common symptoms of this virus just as you would for a typical case of the flu.

But any serious cases should immediately lead to a phone call to their doctor.

If the illness is deemed serious enough to visit an emergency room, health officials strongly suggest calling ahead so the ER staff can prepare ahead of time.

Hours before the news conference we were given a behind-the-scenes look at the coordinated training involved with local health systems.

It was all part of the monthly gathering of the Louisiana Region 7 Hospital Preparedness Coalition, which now includes everything from clinics to nursing homes.

The coordinator, Knox Andress, told us that ever since 9/11 they have worked together, especially during emergencies, like this impending arrival of the coronavirus.

Back at the mayor's news conference, we also heard from Caddo Parish School Board president Mary Trammel.

“If there’s a need for sanitation or making corrections at a school we are already planning that. And we’ve got a plan in process," stated Trammel.

"And, as a matter of fact the other day we sent a notification to parents to make them aware of the things they can do for safety measures.”

Mayor Perkins concluded the news conference with a final thought.

“I want the public to know, hey, this is nothing for us to freak out about. It’s not in our community right now. But if it does visit our community we’re more than prepared and we’re going to stand together and fight.”

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