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Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: Statewide 'stay at home' order issued, 837 cases confirmed

Testing has begun at three sites in the New Orleans area for anybody with a fever and other symptoms associated with coronavirus.

NEW ORLEANS — Read updates for Monday, March 23 

UPDATE: Sunday March 22 - 9:30 AM

  • 20 deaths in state  
  • 837 confirmed cases
  • 36 of 64 parishes have cases
  • 1385 state tests, 2113 commercial

Key Updates:

  • 20 Louisianians and one Mississippian have died from the new coronavirus in the state. More than half of the state's parishes have reported coronavirus cases. 
  • Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana's healthcare system could be overwhelmed in as early as seven days by COVID-19 cases. He's asked President Donald Trump for help from the federal government. 
  • Multiple deaths have been reported out of the Lambeth House retirement community in New Orleans, where the state's only known "virus cluster" is impacting elderly residents and employees there.
  • In most instances, testing around the state and country has been reserved only for people already exhibiting extensive COVID-19 symptoms who have also already tested negative for the flu.  
  • See the updates from Saturday here.

Latest Updates: 

Statewide "stay at home" order issued  - 2:00 p.m. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a statewide "stay at home" order set to go into effect Monday at 5 p.m. 

The order, which closed down a number of business types and forced many others to provide only "essential services" with fewer than 10 people, has the same exemptions as the New Orleans "stay home" mandate issued Friday: essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies would be allowed to stay open. 

Edwards said a curfew would not be put in place, but left the option on the table for future consideration. Parish officials were authorized to establish their own curfews if they deemed it necessary.

Get more details about the order here: 

RELATED: La. Governor issues 'Stay at Home' order: What that means for you

Lousiana confirms 837 coronavirus cases, no new deaths  - 9:30 a.m. 

The latest numbers released by the Louisiana Department of Health show more than 800 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The state reported 837 cases in 36 parishes Sunday morning, but no new deaths were reported. Officials say 20 people have died in Louisiana after contracting the virus. Many had preexisting health conditions. 

The virus has spread to more than half of Louisiana's 64 parishes, with Orleans Parish continuing to lead the state in both cases reported and deaths. New Orleans reports 451 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15 deaths. 

Drive-thru testing begins today for those with symptoms  - 6:30 a.m. 

The three drive-thru coronavirus testing centers in the New Orleans area will expand their testing criteria starting Sunday, allowing anybody with a fever and other possible coronavirus symptoms to be tested. 

Each site is able to administer 250 tests per day. New Orleans sites will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily or until the tests run out.

Previously the drive-thru sites were limited to first responders and health care workers.

Find the closest testing location here:

RELATED: New Orleans, JP drive-thru testing expanded to public with fever, symptoms

What you need to know about COVID-19: 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including severe pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or death. 

Older people and people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or cancer seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

People with recent travel to China, or have come in contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have a greater risk for becoming ill.

What to do if you are sick:

If you recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 transmission, and you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor immediately. Do not go to the doctor without calling first.

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652. 

If you are severely ill and you think you need to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room.

How to Prevent the Spread:

The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) and through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Especially wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.

Treatments for COVID-19:

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. People with coronavirus should be treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Some severe cases require going to the hospital, particularly in the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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