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Iberia Parish officials call press conference Thursday night after first case of COVID-19

One COVID-19 case reported.
Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 17:03:43-04

NEW IBERIA, La. — Iberia Parish President Larry Richard, St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Region 4 Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski held a press conference Thursday night at the Iberia Parish Courthouse to provide updates on the parish's first confirmed case of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Richard said he had been in constant communication with not only officails in Iberia Parish, but officials in St. Martin and Lafayette Parishes. He encouraged residents to continue safety measures such as washing your hands and practicing "social distrancing."

"This is not something that's going to be unique to Iberia Parish," said Richard. "We need to make sure that whatever we're doing, we're doing it collectively because we want to slow down the spread of this particular virus."

Stefanski offered little details on the individual who tested positive but said that Iberia Parish has been very proactive in responding to the outbreak.

She also said that while there are now hundreds of tests now in Acadiana being sent to commercial labs it will take about 5 - 6 days for results to come back.

"Throughout Acadiana, individuals have been tested. As those test results are starting to come in from commercial labs, you're going to see the number of cases continue to grow in Acadiana," said Dr. Tina Stefanski with the Louisiana Department of Health

Stefanski said that higher risk patients such as those showing symptoms who are older than 60 and have underlying health conditions will recieve priority for testing.

She advised such high risk patients to stay home and follow advice from their health provider.

Stefanski also said that while she understands that there are still some who must show up for work they must be mindful of the situation and act as if they already have the virus.

"We are pretty sure that there is more than one person in this community that has this virus," explained Stefanski. "It's just been very limited on the individuals we can test because there's limitation of testing supplies nationally."

She advised everyone to keep washing their hands, keeping their hands from their face and maintaining their distance.

Stefanski also said that while Iberia Parish now has its first case, there is no evidence that the virus will spread further throughout the parish.

"We don't want people to be alarmed, but we do want people to realize that now is the time to take those actions to prevent the further spread," said Stefanski.

She added that more testing kits and supplies are on their way to the area and should be available to health providers in the coming days.

Iberia Parish reported its first case of COVID-19 Thursday, which comes with the latest numbers update from The Louisiana Department of Health at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.