Dear BRCC Faculty and Staff,
I am certain that you have seen reports in the media about the confirmed cases of COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus, in several states, with six deaths in the United States thus far. It was important to me that I take time to update you on the steps the state of Louisiana is taking to prevent the spread of the illness.
Presently, Louisiana does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19. However, it is important to be prepared. To date, in Louisiana, the Department of Health has been communicating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the federal level as well as health providers, hospitals and doctors to proactively share information about symptoms and also guidance about when someone needs to be tested. Louisiana does have the capability to test for coronavirus at the Office of Public Health’s State Laboratory.
The same actions taken to prevent the spread of flu are also helpful in preventing any respiratory illness, including COVID-19: cover your cough, wash your hands often and well, and stay home when you’re sick.
Individuals who have traveled to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy or Japan within the past 14 days and experience fever, cough or another kind of illness, should contact their health care provider as soon as possible and tell them their symptoms and about their recent travel.
Please keep in mind that it is still flu season. The chances of you getting the flu are higher than of getting coronavirus. If you have not already done so, it is still a good idea to get a flu shot or to take a flu antiviral if it is prescribed.
Yesterday, the Governor’s Office held the first Unified Command Group meeting about coronavirus to ensure state agencies are coordinating and communicating effectively across all departments about this illness. Additionally, the COVID-19 Task Force has been created to lead Louisiana’s planning for different scenarios relating to the spread of coronavirus, and to offer guidance to state agencies, local governments, businesses and organizations.
At BRCC, we are reviewing and updating the college’s Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) that were developed statewide in 2012 under GOHSEP’s direction to take coronavirus into account.
Please continue to stay abreast of the latest information and developments. For updates on the state’s response to the coronavirus situation, visit the Louisiana Department of Health website. Also, please review the attached Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), about COVID-19.
As always, thank you for all of your hard work and your commitment to BRCC.
Willie E. Smith, Sr., Ed.D.