LDH updates on COVID-19; guidelines for Shrovetide and schools
LDH updates on COVID-19;  guidelines for Shrovetide and schools

LDH updates on COVID-19; guidelines for Shrovetide and schools

LDH updated on COVID-19 in the state, including safety for the Mardi Gras holiday and what new guidelines schools can expect.

Dr. Joseph Kanter says state affairs have peaked and we are now moving on a downward trend. The state is still in, but coming down from the 5th Omicron-powered wave.

“We continue to move in the right direction. But the entire state continues to experience very high levels of COVID-19 transmission,” says LDH.

All 64 parishes are still at the highest risk level. LDH says layered strategies are how the state stays safe while there is so much COVID circulating throughout the state. They recommend being vaccinated and boosted if warranted, masked, working remotely if possible, and limiting exposure to people outside the immediate household.

Hospital admissions remain high in Louisiana, but LDH hopes the burdens hospitals now face will soon be alleviated. COVID-19 deaths, Kanter says, are still significant. Omicron is mild, he says, but the numbers are still rising with each update.

See the COVID-19 numbers in the state here.

Kanter says that because the peak of Omicron was so high, it will take a while before that risk comes down to a baseline.

The vaccinations are still struggling, Kanter says. “We are not where we need to be.”

In January 2022, 58,540 Louisians received their first COVID-19 shot, and 134,376 booster shots were given.

Guidance from the CDC shows that booster recommendations have changed from 6 months to 5 months after your second vaccination. The second change is with immunocompromised individuals. Kanter says the CDC recommends boosting 3 months after their second vaccine dose.

When it comes to Mardi Gras, Kanter says there are many more tools to protect the public. He says families should take stock of their own safety.

Masks must be worn and social distance taken. Vaccination is also recommended before Shrovetide events begin. People who are sick should stay home and away from parades and events.

To celebrate Mardi Gras more safely, LDH recommends:

  • Mask more, mask better
  • Get vaccinated and boosted if you are eligible
  • Stay home and get tested if you are sick
  • Consider staying home from major events if you are at greater risk for illness

Although vaccinated and masked, there is still some risk, he says. “People need to make a qualified decision for themselves if they have an increased risk of getting sick,” he said.

Free N95 masks will be distributed in the state due to the federal government. Kanter says Walmart, Winn-Dixies, Sam’s Clubs and some Walgreens in the state will supply these masks.

LDH

Contact tracing in the state, Kanter says, is slowing down in the state. He says the need for contact tracing is not as necessary as it was in the beginning. Newly tested individuals will no longer receive a phone call, but they will receive an SMS with information and resources for those who test positive.

A COVID-19 Community Support Hotline is still offered. If you test positive and have questions, call 877-766-2130 for answers.

For schools, there has been new guidance from LDH and CDC regarding quarantine.

For personal learning for K-12 and day care students, LDH says compliance with all CDC guidelines has caused some disruption to schools. LDH provided additional guidance that gave schools opportunities for quarantine and masking.

Isolation recommendations are for those who are sick or testing positive for COVID, LDH says. These people are to be quarantined for 5 days. After symptom improvement, they are allowed to return to school, but must disguise themselves for 5 days after

K-12 schools

For quarantine (exposed students, but who have not tested positive). There are three options.

  • Standard quarantine instructions
  • Test to become an option
  • Universal masking

See the current CDC guide here

Early childhood

  • Option 1 is the safest and follows current CDC guidelines. All close contacts should be quarantined at home for 10 days. Should a close contact test positive, see insulation instructions.
  • Option 2 is considered a safer solution and requires close contacts to quarantine the home for 5 days. If they remain asymptomatic, they may return to daycare on day 6 with a negative COVID-19 test given no earlier than day 5. Another COVID-19 test should be administered between days 7-10.
  • Option 3 is an acceptable option and allows close contacts NOT to be quarantined if they remain asymptomatic and have negative COVID-19 tests administered four times over 10 days. Two tests should be administered during day 0-5 after the last point of contact, and two tests should be administered during day 6-10.

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