By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in New Orleans, Louisiana have reported 3,966 coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 cases to date, including 153 deaths.

Image by USA-Reiseblogger from Pixabay

The City of New Orleans encourages essential businesses in the area to review their human resource policies related to COVID-19 exposure, sickness, and return to work.

The rate of infection in New Orleans clearly indicates substantial community spread. All individuals should assume they have been exposed, stay home except for essential needs, and avoid close contact with others. If an individual becomes symptomatic (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), they should assume they have COVID-19 and stay home to prevent further spread. The City strongly recommends against employers requiring proof of COVID-19 infection for employees to return to work or to be released from essential duties.

The following are a set of suggested policies related to releasing sick workers and allowing recovered employees to return to essential work:

    • If an essential employee exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, he or she should isolate and contact their human resources department immediately for further instructions. Employers should allow symptomatic employees to isolate without requiring proof of COVID-19 infection.
    • Employees who are home on quarantine (i.e. they have been exposed to COVID-19 but are without symptoms) should not be allowed to return to work until 14 days after the date of exposure. Employees that remain asymptomatic during their period of quarantine should not require medical clearance from a physician to return to work.
    • Employees who are home under isolation (i.e. they have been confirmed to have COVID-19 or have symptoms consistent with it) should not be allowed to return to work until:
      • The employee has had no fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medicine); AND
      • Other symptoms have improved (for example, cough of shortness of breath); AND
      • At least 7 days have passed since the employee’s symptoms first appeared

Lastly, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued the following statement on legendary jazz pianist, composer and educator Ellis Marsalis, who has died at the age of 85:

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched. He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world. This loss cuts us deeply. May we wrap his family in our love and our gratitude, and may we honor his memory by coming together in spirit — even as the outbreak keeps us apart, for a time.”

Ellis Marsalis, Jr. was born in 1934, and went on to become the father of six sons, four of whom would establish their own careers as jazz musicians: Wynton (trumpet), Delfeayo (trombone), Branford (saxophone) and Jason (vibes, drum).

He reportedly went into the hospital over last weekend with symptoms of pneumonia. The New York Times reports that his son Branford says the cause of death was complications from COVID-19.

Louisiana has reported 121,496 cases and 409 deaths to date.