The Louisiana Department of Health has confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe.

From a statement by St. Francis Medical Center:

Out of concern for the health and safety of Ouachita Parish Public Library patrons and staff, all branches will close temporarily to the public at the end of regular business hours on Thursday, March 19 until April 13.

The Library is waiving all overdue fines for items borrowed and/or due between March 13-April 13. Out of an abundance of caution, the Library is requesting that patrons not return currently borrowed items until further notice.

Watch the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including regular White House briefings.

Louisiana State Parks

Chicot State Park near Ville Platte and Lake Bistineau State Park near Doyline have been tagged as additional regional staging areas for the current medical situation in the state.  As a service to the health and medical facilities in those areas, these state parks will be unavailable for public use effective Wednesday, March 18.

Noah Fortson/NPR

Watch the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including regular White House briefings.

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards took additional significant measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, further limiting the size of gatherings to fewer than 50 people, closing casinos, bars and movie theaters and limiting restaurants to delivery, take out and drive-through orders only. These changes are effective statewide at midnight.

Operations may be able to resume on April 13, however, the situation will be reevaluated seven days prior. In Louisiana, there are 132 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two people have died.

Louisiana Tech University

In a letter to students, Louisiana Tech University President Les Guice announced the transition of classes to "all online or other alternative method of course delivery" beginning Monday, March 16.

University operations will continue and the campus remains open. Housing, dining and other services will continue to be provided.

Updated 8:32 p.m. 3/20/2020

The following businesses and entites have announced closures in northeast Louisiana:

 As part of its ongoing response to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Louisiana, and for the continued safety of patients and team members, St. Francis Medical Center today announced changes to its visitor guidelines and the addition of screening stations at designated entrances based on new Louisiana Department of Health requirements. These guidelines go into effect beginning today until further notice.

University of Louisiana Monroe

University of Louisiana Monroe President Nick J. Bruno, Jr., Ph.D., released a letter to the students, faculty and staff, providing information on the university’s preparations for the spread of coronavirus.

The president’s letter is as follows:

I want to keep you updated on the latest information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact to campus.