Louisiana Department of Health issued some grim news Sunday, January 31. The state recently surpassed 400,000 cases of people infected with the coronavirus. The official count of cases is 400,626 infected and 8,859 people in Louisiana have died from the disease. Fact: we can prevent further infection and death. All we have to do is work together and follow the advice of the CDC and local health/medical professionals. Despite an enormous amount of misinformation (from people with no medical background), the absolute truth is, COVID-19 is not a spoof. The coronavirus is real and very deadly, and we should all treat it as such. No one is safe from this disease.

The CDC has issued mandated mask wearing requirements for planes, trains, and other public transportation. The official Mask Wearing Order goes into effect today, February 1 in the United States. All of us need to do our part in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 with three simple things: washing our hands/using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing. If you are experiencing symptoms, have been exposed, or want peace of mind about being infected with the coronavirus, get tested. Find a statewide COVID-19 testing site near you. Be responsible and quarantine yourself if you have the virus to protect others.

Educate yourself about the coronavirus vaccine and who is eligible to receive it now. The Louisiana Department of Heath says as more of the vaccine becomes available, more people will have access to it.

For more details and the latest COVID-19 updates in Louisiana, go to ldh.la.gov

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LOOK: Just some of the photos that capture the historic year that was 2020