Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - Coronavirus update: What you need to know about COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

For many, the traditional handshake greeting has been replaced by an elbow bump amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (Image via Shutterstock)

By STHS Communcation Department

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory illness called COVID-19 caused by a new coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China.  At particular risk are the elderly and those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems.

In an effort to keep the community informed, STHS officials – who are continuously in contact with the Louisiana Office of Public Health and the CDC regarding COVID-19 – have issued the following information for Tuesday (March 24).

As of noon Tuesday, the state of Louisiana had confirmed 1,388 positive or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in-state and 46 resulting fatalities. That’s up from 1,172 cases and 34 fatalities reported Monday.

Of the statewide cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday, 52 were in St. Tammany Parish, including two being treated at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington. Three cases were also reported in Washington Parish and four in Tangipahoa. The majority of in-state cases are in Orleans Parish (675 cases as of Friday morning) and Jefferson Parish (293 cases), according to state-provided figures.

THE STHS OUTLOOK: St. Tammany Health System is prepared for COVID-19 in our communities. The following actions are among those that have been put into place:

  • A system-wide protocol has been enacted at each of our facilities for the screening and isolation of any patient suspected of having the disease.
  • In keeping with a Louisiana Department of Health order, STHS is prohibiting non-essential visitors to St. Tammany Parish Hospital.
  • We are recommending patient video visits and other alternatives for in-person doctor’s appointments.
  • For suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases, we are implementing all appropriate isolation and protective measures outlined by the CDC and follow their guidelines for hospital personnel and visitors. Additionally, we will immediately notify the proper parties, including the Louisiana State Epidemiologist, the Office of Public Health and the CDC for their authorization to test any suspected cases. (Testing is currently being performed with authorization from the Louisiana Office of Public Health.)
  • We have performed drills at access points to ensure the safety of STHS personnel and visitors.
  • We continue to gather the latest information from the CDC, OPH and World Health Organization. We will update our processes as directed by the CDC and OPH.

THE NATIONAL OUTLOOK: As of noon Tuesday (March 24), the CDC was reporting 44,183 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the United States since Jan. 21, including 544 deaths in 54 U.S. jurisdictions (all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). That’s up from 33,404 confirmed cases and 400 deaths reported Monday.

THE GLOBAL OUTLOOK: As of 4 a.m. Monday (March 23), World Health Organization figures showed 332,930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported globally resulting in 14,509 deaths. That’s up from 292,142 cases and 12,784 deaths reported Saturday.

AT YOUR HOME: St. Tammany Heath System infection prevention officials recommend the following preventative steps:

  • In keeping with orders from Gov. John Bel Edwards, all Louisiana residents should remain at home except for essential activities, including work, grocery shopping or picking up take-out orders from restaurants. If it’s necessary to go out in public, practice “social distancing” by staying at least 6 feet from other people.   
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap, water and friction. If soap is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your upper arm, not your hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces with 1:10 bleach product or an alcohol-based cleanser containing more than 60 percent alcohol.
  • Those 65 and older who have a fever of 99.6 or higher, and those under 65 with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, should stay home. Call your doctor if symptoms worsen.

Additional information can be found at; by calling the state’s 211 health information line; or by calling the St. Tammany Health System’s pre-recorded COVID-19 information line at (985) 773-1699, which is updated with new information as warranted.

Monitor for coronavirus updates.