The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals will reopen Area 29 to oyster harvesting at sunrise Wednesday, January 20, 2010. DHH evaluations of Area 29, located in Lower Calcasieu Lake, have determined the molluscan shellfish growing waters there are suitable for harvest of oysters.
DHH closed Area 29 on January 14, 2010 as a precautionary measure. It is believed that oysters harvested from these waters may have been responsible for a norovirus outbreak in North Carolina last month.
Today, State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry and DHH Secretary Alan Levine signed the order to reopen this oyster harvesting area. This action rescinds the precautionary closure order, allowing oystermen to resume operations in Area 29.
The DHH Office of Public Health continues its regular monitoring of conditions in Louisiana's shellfish growing areas to ensure the public's health. The Louisiana Oyster Task Force, an organization made up of oyster industry and regulatory agencies, supports the reopening. Water standards for oyster harvesting areas are set by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference and can be found at www.issc.org. DHH has the authority to open and close these waters under LSA-R.S. 40:5,3.