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Officials: Quarantine rumors are ‘fake’

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Local and state emergency preparedness officials are trying to quell rumors that people are about to be quarantined in their homes for two weeks and that the Louisiana National Guard (LANG) has been deployed to enforce that.

“That’s just not true,” Kip Franklin, Lincoln Parish director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said Friday.

Franklin said he had been “inundated” with calls from people who had read social media posts or received what he called “misinformed” texts predicting doom.

Even the White House debunked the quarantine rumor in a tweet saying, “Text message rumors of national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown.”

The erroneous information prompted the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Intelligence Officer Buren “Ric” Moore, to send out an email outlining what the government can and can’t do.

“While the federal government can quarantine individuals or groups suspected of being infected by coronavirus, they cannot enforce broad lockdowns of groups in ‘hot zones,’” Moore wrote.

There are no orders or plans to have citizens quarantined in their homes for two weeks, nor have the Louisiana National Guard troops been deployed to enforce any type of quarantine or traffic control.

But here are some things that have happened:

• LANG personnel and equipment have been stationed at three sites in Jefferson Parish and New Orleans to assist local agencies with drive-up testing for the COVID-19 virus.

• LANG personnel and equipment are being deployed to move supplies around the state as requested.

• Lake Bistineau State Park, near Doyline in Webster Parish, has been closed to the public and being prepped to house coronavirus patients who don’t need hospital care but can’t go home.

• LANG personnel may assist with security at Lake Bistineau

Meantime, Franklin said Lincoln Parish still has no presumptive cases of coronavirus and is doing “a great job” following the social distancing, work-from-home other guidelines governmental and health care agencies have recommended.

“Everybody has put measures in place to pretty much ebb the tide of this thing,” Franklin said.

He also urged parish residents to support local restaurants and eateries now restricted to take-out and delivery only.