REPORT: 100 people at 3 Louisiana crawfish farms diagnosed with coronavirus in first workplace cluster

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BATON ROUGE, La. (THE ADVOCATE) — State health officials say nearly 100 people at three crawfish farms in the Acadiana area have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first workplace clusters announced in Louisiana since the outbreak began in March. 

According to The Advocate, Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary of Louisiana’s Office of Public Health, said many of the infected individuals were migrant workers who contracted the illness while living in dormitory-like settings.

At this time, the state’s Department of Health is not releasing the names of the three crawfish farms where the outbreaks occurred.

Spokeswoman Aly Neel said, “LDH is declining to name these private businesses. We will continue to work with them to prevent further spread of this illness and to ensure workers understand where and when to be tested.”

Health officials decided to follow federal guidance by encouraging mass virus testing of residents who live in dormitory-like settings such as nursing homes and prisons and eventually, the first outbreak at one crawfish farm was discovered. 

This led to additional testing of asymptomatic individuals living in other places with similar living quarters. During this expanded testing, additional cases of the virus were discovered at two more crawfish farms. 

Due to these worksite outbreaks, the Acadiana region has recently experienced an uptick in new coronavirus cases and the Department of Health said it is monitoring the increase.

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