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Calcasieu leaders urge vigilant prevention after first local COVID-19 case

Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh announced Calcasieu's first COVID-19 confirmed case
Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -It was inevitable, yet still, news no one wanted to hear.

"We do have our first, confirmed, positive COVID-19 case in Southwest Louisiana in Calcasieu Parish," said Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh, the state's medical director for this region. Cavanaugh delivered the news at Calcasieu’s daily coronavirus briefing at the Emergency Operations Center.

“I would like to make sure that everyone knows that person has been contacted, is isolated and we will be speaking about making sure that any close contacts of that individual are appropriately isolated and worked up,” she said.

Cavanaugh says at this point, they cannot release any demographic information about the person who tested positive.

“There are lot of rules and laws that protect the privacy of patients and clinical information.” said Cavanaugh.

But she says now it's more important than ever to follow expert guidance on not spreading the disease.

“Socially distancing, as we have been talking about for a couple of weeks now, to make sure that we are washing hands, that people are taking this virus seriously,” she said.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, who was at the briefing, called it sobering news but not unexpected.

"Now is the time to stay calm, stay vigilant, follow the advice of local state and federal officials. Many of the steps that we have taken locally were designed to prevent the rapid community spread and I am very thankful that we took those steps," he said.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso says they situation really is manageable right now and finds no reason for curfews. He urges people to relax, help neighbors and stay home if possible.

“The National Guard, if they come in, and they’re needed it’s going to be on a medical basis needed, and that would be a call from OEP (Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Planning) and our medical community would request that, so that would not be abnormal. But at this time, they’re not coming in to quarantine everybody and make them stay in their homes and we don’t foresee that happening at this time,” he said.

Mancuso points out we live in a country that has the best medical people in the world and assures the public we're going to get through this.

To watch the entire Thursday briefing click here.

Friday’s briefing is set for 2 p.m. and will be carried live on kplctv.com and the kplc mobile app.

For the latest on federal and state numbers and guidance visit the CDC or the Louisiana Department of Health.

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