Governor’s office staffer tests positive for COVID-19, several quarantined

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – APRIL 17: A general view of the Louisiana State Capitol prior to a rally against Louisiana’s stay-at-home order and economic shutdown on April 17, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Governor John Bell Edwards has said Louisiana’s high rate of infections and deaths does not position the state to quickly open back up. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (From Governor John Bel Edward’s Office) — A member of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ team tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday evening, the Governor’s office disclosed on Thursday morning.

The individual is currently asymptomatic and will be in self-quarantine for 14 days, as will staff members with close contact to this person.

The person was at a media briefing and other internal meetings at the State Capitol recently, but 12 other staff members who epidemiologists consider to have had “close contact” at the State Capitol were notified of their exposure on Wednesday night and advised to self-quarantine.

The office will monitor those who are in self-quarantine and will offer testing and support where appropriate. Should other team members test positive, additional people may be advised to self-quarantine.

Further, complete contact tracing will take place today so that all individuals having close contact with the staff member who tested positive will be so advised, asked to self-quarantine and tested if appropriate.

Based on discussions with epidemiologists, Gov. Edwards is not currently considered a close contact of the person who tested positive.

Close contacts are those who likely had exposure within six feet of a person who is infected for at least 15 minutes.

Gov. Edwards made the following statement:

Throughout this crisis, I have pledged transparency with the public, which is why I am disclosing today that a member of my team, who works in the State Capitol, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.

So far, this person is asymptomatic and will be in self-quarantine, as will a dozen members of my staff, in alignment with the recommendations of the Louisiana Department of Health. Anyone in our circle that we believe had close contact with this person was notified on Wednesday night and advised to self-quarantine.

We are monitoring our team and, should it become necessary, will be offering testing to our staff members and tracing their contacts to determine who needs to self-quarantine and who could be at risk.

The coronavirus has already had a devastating impact on my team, as we lost April Dunn just three months ago, and we are working hard to protect others from this illness.

Our staff takes precautions, including wearing masks, to protect each other, and we are hopeful that by aggressively self-quarantining, and working remotely, we can reduce the likelihood that anyone else will be exposed.

I am deeply grateful that this person did the right thing and quickly notified us so that we could take swift action.

As I have said over and over again, COVID-19 is alive and well in Louisiana, and all of the people of our state need to take this illness very seriously.

Please wear a mask when you are in public, stay home if you feel sick, or have been directly exposed to someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19, wash your hands frequently and keep at least six feet of social distance from other people when you are in public.”

I am praying for the health and safety of all those who have tested positive for COVID-19, that they will recover quickly without great suffering.

I am also praying that the people of Louisiana will take this illness seriously and redouble their efforts to slow the spread and prevent others from becoming sick.”

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