April 20, 2020, Ruston, Louisiana – Today, Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services (LUMCFS) reports the first positive case of COVID-19 among residents of the organization’s Ruston-based, Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home.
The child’s symptoms are mild, without fever and a feeling of tiredness according to the facility’s Nurse Family Practitioner, Winter Oliver. She added that she tested the child for COVID-19 out of attentiveness, noting, “this normally active child was resting a lot which was unusual.”
LUMCFS has been proactive in its preparations and began implementing measures in late February to prepare for and counter the presence of COVID-19 in its children’s homes.
COVID-19 has the ability to spread quickly in residential facilities where individuals from different places live together and social distancing is more challenging. Also, because an individual may be infected and contagious days before showing symptoms, COVID-19 spreads within communities before the members of the community are aware of its presence.
Rick Wheat, President and CEO of LUMCFS said, “Because we care for children who come to us from across our state, it was inevitable that our residents and staff may become ill with COVID-19.”
Wheat continued, “Immediately upon receiving a positive COVID-19 test result, we notified the child’s guardian. We also communicated quickly with the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services.”
With no certain prevention against COVID-19 in residential care, LUMCFS established quarantine procedures and isolation protocols for use when COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed. LUMCFS converted Howard School on the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home campus into an infirmary for its residents. It has implemented and used the quarantine procedures twice in the last month, but in those cases the children tested positive for influenza and not COVID-19.
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Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, Inc.
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