Provided by:
St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
March 12, 2020

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

There are many opinions about whether Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) actually presents a major health threat. St. Martin Parish Government will follow the lead of federal and state health officials relative to this virus. It would indeed be reckless to assume a dismissive stance in the face of the advice and actions of health officials. Therefore, this informational sheet has been provided for the benefit of the public and should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for, the data submitted by state and federal officials. Also, information about this coronavirus is constantly evolving; thus, pay attention to all information presented by state and federal health officials.

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a new type of coronavirus that causes respiratory issues in humans. Those respiratory issues range from mild to severe and may be deadly in certain persons. Those most susceptible to severe illness or death are persons suffering from diabetes, heart disease, asthma, COPD, or cancer. The Coronavirus was initially identified in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization has declared the virus as a “public health emergency of international concern.” U.S. health officials are closely monitoring all confirmed cases in the United States. There have only been thirteen (13) presumptive positive cases thus far in Louisiana. Therefore, there is no need for panic as the risks associated with the virus remain low at this time.

HOW IS IT SPREAD

The Coronavirus can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. This is most likely to occur when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes and it is then breathed in by someone else. One must be in close proximity to the infected person for it to spread this way, usually within 3 – 6 feet. It is also possible that the virus can be spread by touching a solid surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching one’s eyes, mouth or nose.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND WHAT SHOULD YOU DO

Fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of the Coronavirus. If you suspect that you may have the virus CALL, your health care provider immediately and follow their instructions. It is recommended that you do not present yourself at a health care facility without first calling. There is a test to determine if you have the virus. However, there is no specific treatment for the virus other than the same way that a cold or flu is treated.

PREVENTION

There is no vaccine available to prevent the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent the Coronavirus is to avoid being exposed to it. The United States Center for Disease Control always recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, such as the Coronavirus:
 

TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands with the sanitizer and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If COVID-19 begins spreading in your community, put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting seriously ill.

TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT OTHERS

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • If you are sick, stay at home except to get medical treatment. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are unable to wear a facemask, then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask whenever they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick and they are unable to wear a facemask. Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be reserved for those who are caregivers or sick.