This month's newsletter will serve as an information and resource guide in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Louisiana

#Stayhome #Socialdistancing #Flattenthecurve
In Loving Memory of
April Dunn

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our dear colleague and friend April Denise Dunn. She passed away due to complications from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In addition to being a advocate for individuals with disabilities in various capacities, April served as the Chairperson of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and as the Senior Coordinator in the Governor's of Office of Disability Affairs.

Our statewide community celebrates April's life and her many contributions to benefit the lives of individuals in our state. Please click on the links below to view some of the local and national news articles written in April's honor and recognition:

Click  here  to view our video tribute celebrating the life of our friend and colleague, April Dunn.
May the Work She's Done Speak for Her
Coronavirus COVID-19 Guidance and Resources

The Governor's Office of Disability Affairs has compiled information on how to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please click on the following links to gain access to the available resources and information.

  • Information for the public click here
  • Information for health care providers click here
  • Louisiana Health Message Alerts click here
  • Behavioral health resources click here
  • Updates from the Office of the Governor click here

For questions concerning the coronavirus please Call 211 or Text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 at anytime.

Governor Edwards Issues Statewide Stay at Home Order to Fight the Spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana
Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide Stay at Home order that went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, to further fight the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, as the number of confirmed cases have topped 6000 and has spread to almost all of our Parishes.

“In Louisiana we have taken aggressive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve; however, this is not enough. As our number of cases continue to grow, I am directing all Louisianans to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave.

I am implementing this measure to help prevent you from becoming infected or infecting someone else. People can leave their homes to do essential things like buying groceries or food, pick up medicine or go to work only if their job is essential. If you have to go out, make sure you practice social distancing measures and keep 6 feet between you and the people around you.

People are encouraged to go outside and to stay active during this time, as long as they practice social distancing when they are around their neighbors,” Gov. Edwards said. “This order is not something I take lightly, but it is necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of our people, our communities and our way of life.”

The order is set to expire at the end of the night on Sunday, April 12. The Governor will re-evaluate the need for the statewide Stay at Home order and other mitigation measures currently in place to determine if they need to be extended beyond April 12.

The Governor previously ordered all K-12 public schools, casinos, bars movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers closed and restricted restaurants to take-out, drive-through and delivery orders only. He has also moved the state’s April 4 elections and limited crowd size.

For businesses, the new Stay at Home order has limits on the following:

  • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, and other similar businesses.

  • All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and other similar businesses.

  • All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines.

  • Businesses closed to the public as listed in the order can conduct necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance or upkeep as necessary.

  • Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in Section 3 of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size. 

  • Early learning centers and child care facilities adhering to the guidance issued by the Louisiana Department of Education and Office of Public Health may continue to operate.

Examples of Essential Worker Functions under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines include:

  • Healthcare workers and caregivers
  • Mental health and Social Service workers
  • Pharmacy employees
  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products
  • Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
  • Farm workers
  • Electricity and Utility Industry Employees
  • Critical Manufacturing Employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
  • Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas Workers
  • Transportation and Logistics Workers
  • Communications and Information Technology Employees
  • Financial Services and Banking Industry Employees

See CISA essential business guidelines  here .
Members of the public will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies to pick up food, medicine and necessary supplies, go to their essential jobs and to go outside for exercise and fresh air. When leaving their home, people should practice social distancing.

Additionally, Gov. Edwards has issued a number of orders designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana and flatten the curve. They are:

Gov. Edwards Signs Proclamation Making it Easier for Out of State Medical Professionals to Practice in Louisiana, Updating Funeral Guidance Related to COVID-19
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that eases medical licensure laws to make it easier for health care professionals out of state to come to Louisiana to practice during the COVID-19 outbreak and directs funerals to occur as expeditiously as possible, among other things.

“I am so incredibly grateful for our medical professionals here in Louisiana and those from other states who have volunteered to come to our state and help,” Gov. Edwards said. “We desperately need these professionals to join our local health care heroes to fight COVID-19 in Louisiana.”

Additionally, the proclamation makes clear that funeral services can and should be conducted as expeditiously as possible and that the 10-person limit applies for those services.

Health care workers from out of state can get free flights through Delta Airlines into Louisiana to help as medical volunteers. First, they should register at . People who want to take advantage of this in Louisiana should email [email protected] .

To read the proclamation, click here  here .
COVID-19 Louisiana Response Event
Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), in partnership with the Office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, created a live statewide discussion on Louisiana’s response to COVID-19 on Monday, March 23 in Baton Rouge. 

Governor Edwards was joined by the following team of experts to discuss the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the state's response:

  • Sally-Ann Roberts, Host
  • Alexander Billioux, M.D., Louisiana Department of Health
  • Catherine Smith O'Neal, M.D., Our Lady of the Lake Hospital
  • Kimberly Lewis Robinson, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Revenue
  • Ava DeJoie, Secretary, Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary
  • Marketa Walters, Secretary, Louisiana Department. of Children and Family Services
  • Kim Hunter Reed PhD, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Ed
  • Beth Scioneaux, Acting Superintendent. of Louisiana Department of Education
  • Christina Melton, LPB Deputy Director
  • Dr. Jim Hussey, Medical Director, Office of Behavioral Health, Louisiana Department of Health
  • Bishop Michael Duca, Diocese of Baton Rouge
  • Dr. Sam Tolbert, President, National Baptist Convention of America International

To watch the program please click here .
Louisiana Department of Health
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has created a website link that will enable constituents to formally make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)Request, and gain access to the most recent statistics concerning the COVID-19 in Louisiana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Louisiana Office of Public Health continue to monitor this outbreak closely.

To gain access to the LDH website link please click here .
Louisiana Workforce Commission Update
If your employment has been impacted for reasons related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease), please review the following information about assistance available. The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) will do all that we can to ensure impacted workers receive the benefits for which they are eligible. Do any of these situations apply to you?
1. Your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to Coronavirus.
2. Your workplace closes temporarily, and you are not being compensated. 3. You have been instructed not to go to work, and you are not being paid while at home?

You MAY be eligible for unemployment insurance.

You can file a claim at or by calling our Claim Center at 866-783-5567. Effective March 17, 2020, we have extended our Claim Center hours to 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. Be sure to answer “yes” to the question, “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?”

This will provide needed information to the LWC to help process your claim.  If your work hours have been reduced, partial benefits could be available to you up to a maximum of $247 a week. You must report any earnings for the week that you work, even if you’ve not yet been paid. Report the gross amount before deductions. These earnings would be factored into the amount of unemployment benefits paid to you for that week.

A number of factors determine eligibility for benefits. The LWC reviews each case separately. The maximum number of weeks that unemployment benefits can be paid per claim is 26 weeks in a 12-month period.  Wages and vacation pay (received or will receive) MUST be reported when you file your unemployment claim. Sick leave and PTO do not need to be reported.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As per the Governor’s proclamation, for individuals whose employment has been impacted due to COVID-19: Work search requirements are waived Week of waiting is waived Information for Employers in Louisiana If you are temporarily closing or reducing your hours of operations due to COVID-19, please contact the LWC to discuss how we can provide assistance and answer your questions about unemployment insurance and other programs and resources available.

Please contact the Louisiana Workforce Commission directly by emailing: [email protected] with your unemployment insurance questions. Be sure to provide your company’s name, a point of contact, telephone number and email address, as well as specifics on the assistance you are requesting. The Employer Call Center, 225-326-6999, is also available.

For other programs and assistance, contact the American Job Center in your area. To find the closest American Job Center, please click here .

Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Update
On March 18, the U.S. Senate approved and the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes additional food assistance for some families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DCFS will implement these new provisions and will provide additional information in the coming days on the DCFS website and Facebook page.

If you are not already a SNAP recipient and have a food need, we encourage you to apply for benefits online. There’s no need to visit a DCFS office.

For more information or to apply please click here .
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Video Series
The CDC has created a series of videos to further educate the general public about matters concerning COVID-19.

There is a series of videos with an ASL interpreter for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Please click here to gain full access to the library of videos.
Beware of Coronavirus Scams and False Information
The Federal Trade Commission has released several tips to help keep you safe from scammers, who are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus

  • Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.

  • Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources. Visit What the U.S. Government is Doing for links to federal, state and local government agencies.

  • Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.

  • Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.

If you come across any suspicious claims, report them to the FTC at .

Additionally, to avoid false stories concerning this pandemic, you are encouraged to follow the verified twitter handles of the various state agencies to ensure you have access to all updates concerning the coronavirus in Louisiana such as:

  • @LouisianaGov
  • @LADeptHealth
  • @LAStatePolice
  • @La_Believes

For questions concerning the coronavirus please Call 211 or Text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 at anytime.