The New Orleans Health Department and the Louisiana Department of Health announced today that the agencies are investigating apparent clusters of cases of COVID-19 in Orleans Parish. The two separate clusters are related to a New Orleans high school graduation party and a large, non-physically distant gathering at a bar outside the parish.
Both clusters appear to be affecting young people who are Orleans Parish residents.
As additional information is gathered on these clusters, city officials are urging all residents, especially young people, to take immediate precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Activities that pose the highest risk for transmission are large, uncontrolled gatherings like those that take place at a party or bar. These activities can fuel a rapid rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“In New Orleans, we’ve made such great progress because so many of our residents have been patient, compliant, and understanding,” said NOHD Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “We must continue that good work as long as COVID remains a threat. We might be ‘over’ COVID, but COVID is not over by a long shot.”
In recent days, the NOHD has seen an increase in the percent of positive tests results at its mobile testing sites around New Orleans. This is another concerning indicator that community spread may be increasing. Statewide, there are also alarming increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. If trends continue, we may need to go back to more serious restrictions on activity.
“We either go forward or we go back,” said New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Collin Arnold. “The actions that each of us choose to take will determine the future of our city. Please do not take that responsibility lightly.”
This Father’s Day weekend, NOHD and NOHSEP are urging residents to be mindful and protect loved ones by not taking unnecessary risks. Wear face coverings in public, stay at least six feet apart, wash hands regularly, disinfect surfaces, and avoid large, uncontrolled gatherings.
Code Enforcement and New Orleans Police Department officials will actively enforce the Phase Two guidelines outlined by the city of New Orleans and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Residents are urged to call 311 to report large, uncontrolled gatherings or businesses that are not complying with physical distancing and masking regulations.
More information about Phase Two and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available at ready.nola.gov.