LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - As local and state governments are working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, they say it’s important to know how to prepare your home, identify the virus, and understand when you can get tested.
If you have any questions you can call the state’s 24/7 COVID-19 hotline by dialing 211. Or you can visit the hotline’s website HERE.
Unlike in a hurricane, authorities don’t expect infrastructure to be shut down, meaning it’s unlikely residents would be without utilities for long periods of time.
According to the CDC you should try to have around a 14-day supply of food and safe water as well as basic supplies which can last you through the advised time for a quarantine. But remember to be considerate to others and not buy too much.
Foods with a long shelf life are better for emergency preparedness.
While many are flocking to buy hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, officials say it’s important to note that soap and water are much cheaper and just as effective.
Regional Medical Director for the Louisiana Department of Health Dr. Lacy Cavanaugh says that for those who have prescription medication it’s also important to have a conversation with your doctor about how to properly prepare in regards to those medications.
It’s very important to follow CDC advisories that can help prevent you from getting the virus. While people will still get the virus during this time, taking these precautions helps keep the number of people who have the virus low and allows our medical system to keep up with not only those patients but also patients that have non-COVID-19 related sicknesses and injuries as well.
As a result, all residents are advised not to visit friends or family unless it is an urgent matter and to avoid visiting nursing homes or hospitals to prevent the spread to those with weaker immune systems.
When you do go out, important precautions that the CDC advise include:
- Avoiding areas that have more than 10 people in the same place whenever possible.
- Washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds whenever you get the chance.
- Properly cleaning anything that you touch often.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Keeping at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others.
Dr. Cavanaugh says other things that can help are mitigating stress by taking breaks from social media to avoid false information as well as keeping in contact with your doctor if you have a mental illness.
Mild cases of COVID-19 include having a low fever and cough.
Severe cases will usually involve having a high fever and shortness of breath.
The CDC says that emergency warning signs connected to the virus that require immediate medical attention are difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, confusion, or a bluish color to your lips or face.
These symptoms can appear within 2 to 14 days after you have been exposed to the virus.
Dr. Cavanaugh says if you feel that you have any symptoms that are associated with the virus you should first call your doctor.
Once you call your doctor they may recommend you for testing for the virus. Currently, in our area there are no walk-in or drive-through tests available so you must call your doctor first to be recommended for testing.
Do not be alarmed if after your doctor recommends you for a test they then advise you to stay home and self-quarantine instead of going to a hospital. Most cases of the virus do not require hospitalization.
If you believe that you have a severe case, try calling your doctor first. If you are unable to call your doctor to discuss it and believe you need to go to the hospital, do not wait. Try to call the hospital ahead of time to allow them to prepare for your arrival but if you can’t call the hospital then immediately go to the Emergency Room.
According to Dr. Cavanaugh, those that are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus will not be qualified for testing at this time.
Patients must be referred by a medical facility or physician.
· Arrive at the Testing Center, 1000 Walters Street, Lake Charles.
· Park in the back of the building by the circular drive/ramp or directly behind the Testing Center.
· Enter the facility through the glass doors under the circular drive/ramp.
· Utilize the designated phone in the area to call the Patient Access staff.
The referral process may change due to the dynamics of this evolving situation and will be updated accordingly.