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We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as it relates to Louisiana and Rapides Parish. Our top priority is the safety, health, and well being of our community, its residents, and visitors. This is a rapidly evolving situation that changes by the hour and there is a lot of uncertainty. We are providing you resources below for your business and employees. Please reach out with any specific questions.

The Governor will update his public health emergency proclamation to include the following through 4/30:

  • All non-essential personnel work from home
  • Gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Casinos and bars will be closed.
  • Parks are closed.
  • Restaurants will be closed to patrons eating on site. Take-out, drive-through and delivery orders are allowed.
  • Movie theaters will be closed.
  • You are urged to maintain at least 6 ft of distance when around others.
  • Stay at Home Mandate can be accessed here.


We would be remiss not to highlight the special precautions that many of our local restaurants and shops are taking right now. Please visit their websites and social media pages to see how you can support them. And remember we are all in this together and your support of these places is of utmost importance at this time.

>>>Small business resources for our local business owners can be found here.

Rapides Parish Specific Updates:

Event cancellations:  Visit our Events Page Here

Parish Information: 

  • Louisiana State University Alexandria will be moving all classes online beginning Monday, March 30; website Link.
  • Central Louisiana Technical Community College classes will resume on Monday, March 30 with classes resuming online. Supervisors will inform students if they need to report to campus or not. Keep up to date here.
  • Louisiana College is rescheduling Spring break, suspending classes Friday, March 16 and will resume classes remotely beginning March 30. Keep up to date here.
  • Rapides Parish Schools are closed as of Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 30 per the Governor's orders. Follow posted updates regarding classes with detailed information on their Facebook page; website link.
  • We will continue to work with the Rapides Parish Health Unit, Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and others to continue to keep you updated on developments.
  • We have not activated any visitor-facing messaging at this point. Our APACVB Crisis Management Plan, which contains public health crises, will guide our Crisis Management Team as needed when needed.
  • As this situation evolves, check with event organizers directly on events that may be impacted or postponed. Due to the proclamation, many events are canceled through April 30 as of now.
  • Statements from local governments:

Our team is in regular contact with the State Tourism Office (Louisiana Travel) and on calls with Destinations International and the U.S. Travel Association to stay informed on the latest updates as it relates to travel.

Links with factual updates:

  • The most up-to-date information for Louisiana is located at the LDH website here.
  • The most up-to-date information on a federal level is available on the CDC’s website here.

On Social Media:

 

Best practices:

Many of our large Accommodations receive guidance from corporate as to the proper sanitization and disinfecting protocol during times like this. For others, follow CDC guidance located here. Ensure you clean items including (but not limited to): door handles, telephones, toilets, light switches, remote controls, blowdryers, HVAC controls, faucet handles, and other surfaces frequently. Link to ECOLab’s full guidance for Hospitality [download PDF].

Restaurants may consider moving items touched by consumers to behind the counter. This keeps customers from touching multiple cups, coffee lids, straws, utensils, and other items and the potential spread of germs where multiple items are handled. By handing one to a customer it may help the spread of germs. Also offering a separate new cup for a refill may be feasible. A link to ServSafe’s Coronavirus information is located here. More resources as they become available for restaurants by the National Restaurant’s Association are online at this link. ECOLab has industry-specific information online here. Link to Restaurants [download PDF]; link to Hospitality [download PDF]; link to Food & Beverage Industry [download PDF].

Airbnb and VRBO

-Airbnb and VRBO Guidance for hosts and guests.

Out of Work due to COVID-19?
Louisiana Workforce Commission has information about unemployment
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

Posters:
There are a number of informational posters for Coronavirus on the CDC’s website here.

General guidance:

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the Department of Health always recommends everyday preventive actions to help impede the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Covering your cough or sneezing with a tissue, then disposing of the issue
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Maintain at least 6 ft of distance between others.
LDH and Gov. John Bel Edwards issued new guidance related to the Coronavirus.

About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with recent outbreaks of MERS and SARS.

Questions about Coronavirus?
If you have questions about Coronavirus, please contact the Coronavirus general information line at 1-855-523-2652 from 8 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.

To minimize the risk of spread, Louisiana health officials are working with health care providers to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases.

Symptoms
For confirmed infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms (similar to the common cold) to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

How does novel coronavirus spread?
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Through respiratory droplets produced when coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes

What you can do
Anyone who recently traveled to China, who experiences fever, cough, or other acute illness should contact a health care provider as soon as possible and mention your recent travel. Please call ahead and inform the health care provider about your travel history.
It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and flu activity is still high and expected to continue for a number of weeks. Take steps to avoid spreading germs from any respiratory diseases by:

  • Getting a flu vaccine and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
  • Covering your cough.
  • Staying home if you are sick.
  • Washing your hands.

What is the Louisiana Department of Health doing?
We are in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other local and national partners to share information.

We have sent information to health care providers around the state with current recommendations for screening and testing for COVID-19, as well as to EMS providers regarding proper protection procedures.
We are holding frequent calls with staff to remain apprised of the latest updates and we are sharing messaging with partners and the public as it becomes available.
Sharing messaging with partners and the public as it becomes available.
Information for the Public

Information from the CDC

 

COVID-19 Information Alexandria/Pineville Area, Louisiana

Restaurants Offering Take Out
(updated 4/8/2020 3 pm)

Click the restaurant to see the services offered. We will be updating this list as regularly as we can.

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