Health leaders: New Orleans residents shouldn’t panic about coronavirus

Updated: Feb. 26, 2020 at 9:10 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -The biggest free party on earth delivered as it does every year, bringing with it thousands of international and domestic travelers.

But city leaders say travelers likely were not bringing the corona virus with them to Louisiana.

“The world is global we certainly have a lot of travelers but so do many other cities,” said Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans Health Department Director.

Avegno explained how the CDC monitors travelers coming into the us from considered hot-spots, and those travelers are routed to specific airports. MSY is not one of those airports.

Not only that, she says the Coast Guard also rigorously screens travelers coming in on cruise ships and other water-bound vessels.

“At this point there's no heightened danger to us in New Orleans or in the region,” said Avegno.

According to the Port of New Orleans, a spokesperson says cruise lines are also monitoring the situation and working with health organizations.

They say before passengers board a ship they can be submitted to pre-boarding health reports, denied boarding, or even temperature checks for those who have traveled to the affected area.

“It’s something that we are watching very closely but it's no reason to be panicked at this point,” said Dr. Julio Figueroa with LSU Health Infectious Diseases at UMC.

Figueroa says if the CDC identifies a traveler in Louisiana from a high-risk corona virus area, the CDC will have already informed that person what to do if they fall ill, and to start quarantining themselves at home, and more directions would follow.

“There hasn't been a lot of travel that's triggered the secondary steps of testing in those sorts of things in Louisiana,” said Figueroa.

He says only if their symptoms grow concerning would they be hospitalized. These are all steps he says they've prepared for at the hospital, as they're the same measure they'd employ for tuberculosis, the measles, or chicken pox.

“To make sure we have all the policies in place for screening patients taking care of patients as well as protecting our own healthcare workers in the public in general,” said Figueroa.

Both Avegno and Figueroa say while they’re informed of the corona virus, the general public should be more concerned with the flu, and get a flu shot.

“So the more procedures you can take care of yourself the better,” said Figueroa.

Avegno says there have been 59 confirmed cases of corona virus in the United States, none of which are in Louisiana.

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