Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Louisiana, US, extend stay-at-home order, closure of nonessential businesses, gatherings ban through at least April 30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Monroe, Louisiana
  • Houma, Louisiana
  • Cameron, Louisiana
  • Intracoastal City, Louisiana
  • Morgan City-Amelia, Louisiana
  • New Iberia, Louisiana
  • Abbeville, Louisiana
  • Galliano-Golden Meadow, Louisiana
  • Port Fourchon, Louisiana
  • Grand Isle, Louisiana
  • Boothville-Venice, Louisiana

This alert began 03 Apr 2020 20:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Louisiana (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards extended a stay-at-home order requiring residents to remain at home except to perform essential activities, and nonessential businesses remain closed through at least April 30. The order has been in place since March 23, and it stipulates that residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend a medical issue, care for a person in need, or to go to work at an essential business or service. Residents may also perform outdoor recreational activities and go to a place of worship, as long as they maintain a proper distance from other people. All gatherings of 10 or more people remain banned. Among the businesses and services deemed essential and to remain open are grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, healthcare facilities, as well as energy, transport, security, and telecommunications companies.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Louisiana authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all non-essential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Louisiana Department of Health - COVID-19: http://ldh.la.gov