BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says it’s not a matter of if the coronavirus comes to the state, but when.
Edwards announced Monday the creation of a COVID-19 Task Force. The group will include members of the state’s health, education, family services, justice, national guard, police departments and other agencies.
“It was, for all practical purposes, much like a meeting we would have to deal with an approaching hurricane or natural disaster,” the governor said.
So far, nobody in Louisiana has tested positive for the coronavirus strain. Edwards urged the public to prepare, but not panic.
“Not only is there no need to panic, but that’s exactly the wrong thing to do,” he said. “We should all take yourself seriously… and arm yourself with the facts.”
The virus has spread to 83,000 people in 60 countries, causing at least 2,800 deaths worldwide.
Nationwide, 90 cases have emerged, and six people have died from the virus.
Edwards also said the state’s public health laboratory is now able to test for the virus, using guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public health leaders urge members of the public to take precautions against the virus: washing hands, covering mouths while coughing and avoid going in public when feeling ill.
They add that anyone with a fever, cough or shortness of breath — especially after traveling outside abroad — should seek medical attention.