Calcasieu has first COVID-19 death

The coronavirus
Updated: Mar. 23, 2020 at 8:45 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Calcasieu has its first death--due to covid-19.

The announcement came at the Monday briefing at the Calcasieu emergency operations center.

Officials will not yet give any information about the person who died.

We don't know who, or how old, or whether there were underlying health conditions-- but we know Calcasieu’s first death has occurred from the coronavirus.

Louisiana Regional Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh revealed the grim news.

“I can confirm in Calcasieu parish we have our first reported death,” she said.

Right now, no additional information is being released-- but hopefully, eventually.

“We’re not going to release any other specific information about that death at this time. But more information may be forthcoming after we have had time to process and investigate that case,” she said.

Though the death did not yet show up on the state’s web site, Cavanaugh wants people to recognize the seriousness of the situation.

“We know that there are probably more cases out there because there’s a delay from the time a person gets tested, the time that those test results then come in, then there’s another little delay by the time the physician received the test results,” said Cavanaugh.

And she points out people of all ages need to follow the guidance including to stay home if possible.

“It doesn’t mean that if you’re young and healthy you are immune from this virus. This virus can cause severe symptoms and can cause hospitalization, even in young healthy people. It’s not as common as when you have a whole bunch of chronic health conditions, but it definitely can happen,” she said.

And while she says most people are being cooperative-

“Just sort of a time for us to remember that this is real. And that real lives are at stake when we don’t stay home,” said Cavanaugh.

She also explained the need to self-isolate for fourteen days if one has been within six feet of someone who tests positive."

To watch the entire briefing click here. The next briefing is expected Wednesday unless something urgent comes up before that.

Below are notes from today’s briefing:

MAIN FOCUS RIGHT NOW: How can we increase the number of tests being done?

LATEST NUMBER OF CASES IN THE STATE: As of noon today, 41 parishes that had positive cases of COVID-19 – 1172 cases across the state, 34 reported deaths.

HERE LOCALLY IN SWLA: 4 official cases in Calcasieu, 2 in Allen and 1 in Beauregard.

If you go to the Governor’s website, you can judge whether the questions you’re asking about businesses are covered by the order:


IT TAKES 24 hours before they report it to the lab and the website is being updated once a day, so it could be 1-2 days before positive cases show up on the map, Dr. Cavanaugh says on how numbers can change in the following days.

STAY AT HOME AND PROTECT OTHER PEOPLE: Even if you’re young and healthy! Doesn’t mean you’re immune from the virus, officials say.

MAYOR HUNTER: We will still be operating city-essential services. Water, sewer, garbage/trash will still be collected.

TRANSIT SYSTEMS will continue to operate, and buses will be sanitized throughout the day. There may be a limit on the amount of riders – but they don’t want to overcrowd buses.


WHO NEEDS TO ISOLATE AND FOR HOW LONG: IF you are someone who has been in contact with someone who has been tested positive of COVID-19 (like you’ve been within 6 feet with that person and contact with them a lot) you should SELF-ISOLATE (aka don’t see anyone else for 14 days) Dr. Cavanaugh says.

IF YOU HAD SYMPTOMS AND YOU WERE TOLD TO GO HOME: in those cases, you need to be symptom-free for THREE DAYS (no fever, no ibuprofen/Tylenol to cover up your fever) before you would be considered not infectious anymore, Dr. Cavanaugh says.

CIVIC CENTER CLOSED. At Burton, they’re PRACTICING drive-thru testing plan but it is only in the PLANNING PHASE AND NOT OPEN. There is no information on when they will start.


A: Home-made masks are not tested and tried and more than likely, they won’t have a finely particle sized filter to be a barrier to the virus, Dr. Cavanaugh says.


A: United Way spokesperson Denise Durel said Salvation Army is actively feeding and open for 15 meals per week, Monday-Saturday, they feed twice a day on Sunday and there’s 3 meals.

They are willing to feed anyone who shows up at Salvation Army on Legion St.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? Donate to agencies like Salvation Army or other faith-based places trying to help.

Sunday 3/22 notes

There is no curfew (except for Jeff Davis) or state border lockdown – please do not listen to rumors.

Mayor Hunter on today’s message: “Stay calm, stay safe and stay home.”

Dept. of Health website will be updated at noon once a day

Essential state functions shall continue: visit gov website to see the list

REMEMBER TURNAROUND TIME FOR PRIVATE LABS: may take 4-7 days before health officials get results after the tests run, so there may be more cases in Louisiana. It can take 14 days from the time you were exposed to the virus, to the time you start to show symptoms, Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said.

For additional information on the COVID-19 crisis contact the CDC or the World Health Organization.

There is help if you are having trouble managing anxiety and stress associated with the coronavirus.

And if you are a person of faith, check out encouraging words from spiritual leaders and the Bible here and those around the world. The governor says he will fast and pray on Tuesday, in the state’s ongoing fight against the coronavirus. The Pope urges prayer to combat the pandemic on Wednesday.

And perhaps, the realization it has happened before and mankind survived, might offer solace.

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