Evacuations and shelters are part of preparing for any hurricane. However, that could be dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic and further spread the virus by evacuating people from COVID-19 hotspots.
“Now that we are evacuating individuals from those areas of the state where infection numbers are higher and moving them elsewhere, so absolutely there is an increased risk of transmission,” said Professor of Medicine in the Section of Infectious Diseases at LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. Fred Lopez.
That is why Dr. Lopez says testing is so important.
“So that to be able to test as many people as possible and find out who is positive in order to isolate them, and not create an increased cycle of transmission on buses or shelters or any location where people are going to be relocated,” he said.
He also says COVID-19 testing along with social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing are critical to lessening the spread of the virus during evacuations.
“And certainly if you feel sick you should let the shelter personnel know so that you can be appropriately evaluated and isolated if need be,” he said.