LCG, health and state officials hold press conference on COVID-19

Posted at 11:32 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 18:35:30-05

Lafayette Consolidated Government held a press conference this afternoon on COVID-19.

The conference included officials from LCG, the Department of Health, Homeland Security.

The Lafayette Parish School System was going to be in attendance but issued a written statement before the press conference.

Dr. Tina Stefanski with the Department of Health spoke at the press conference reiterating that the virus has not made it to Louisiana or Acadiana but residents should still take precaution .

Stefanski say that over 80 percent of cases have so far been mild and those most at risk are elderly or those already ill. Those who are more likely to be at risk for the virus would have have recently traveled to high risk locations.

Those that suspect they may have been to areas that are at risk should consider self-quarantining.

"If anyone has traveled to high risk areas to "self-quarantine" or stay home for 14 days before going back out into the community. There may be others in the community who have self quaratined but no one has been tested in the area after coming back from travel," Stefanski said.

Lafayette Mayor-President Guillory says that the city and parish is fully prepared to handle in the event that the coronavirus does show up in the community. Guillory says that at this time there are no reports of any price gauging of critical medical supplies in the parish.

As it pertains to festivals, Stefanski says that decisions could not be made at this point. Guillory did not speak on this at the press conference but during an interview on KPEL, Thursday, Guillory said that everything is moving forward as normal.

"As far as Festival, we're pinning them back and going forward," Guillory added. "It's a great opportunity for our city and our parish. I encourage everyone out across our state and country and the world to come to Lafayette to join in the celebration."

Stefanski backed this statement.

"People should not change what they are doing now and should not change how they respond to this illness from any other illness," Stefanski said.

In relation to the state's response, test kits have been delivered to the state lab in Baton Rouge.

Stefanski says that one of the private lab in the Acadiana area will be opening up private testing and doctors will have the option to test individuals. Stefanski says that a number of test kits is not available but that there are well stocked to respond.

While there are no cases of the virus in Louisiana, flu activity is still very high in Acadiana, according to Stefanski, and those who feel they may be sick with the flu should seek medical attention. reported that there were four people tested for coronavirus. Three of those people tested negative, and one is pending.

Stefanski says that those would be people who may have traveled to high risk areas or where severely ill and needed to be tested as a precaution.

So far, several states have confirmed cases and 14 deaths in the US have already been reported.

On Thursday, a teacher at Lafayette Middle "self-quarantined" following recent travels outside of the country. LPSS has taken precautionary measures to keep students and staff healthy.

The teacher showed no signs of illness at the time of "self-quarantine" and is not returning to school until cleared by medical professionals. The self-quarantine is only out of an abundance of caution, according to LPSS.

The CDC describes quarantine as the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

Stefanski says that "self-quarantine" is the most responsible thing people who may have come in contact with the virus can do. However, Stefanski says that the community should not be fearful and "self-quarantine" is not necessary unless individuals have traveled to CDC high risk areas for coronavirus.

LPSS says that the teacher did not travel to a CDC High risk location but did not provide the location of the travel.

Read more here.

On Friday, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has canceled its Study Abroad program in Italy for the Summer 2020 semester.

Watch the press conference below: