BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana continues to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. And, state health officials confirmed a case of the more contagious U.K. variant of the virus. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds state residents to take strong precautions against getting or spreading COVID-19.
“While the COVID-19 vaccines are being given to more Louisianians, we know it will take time to make them widely available to the general public,” said Dr. Stephanie Mills, Blue Cross executive vice president and chief medical officer. “Until then, we can all play a role in protecting public health and keeping our loved ones safe. Follow the precautions that we know effectively slow the spread—wear a mask, keep a safe distance from others, wash your hands.”
About the COVID-19 Vaccine
Blue Cross joins the Baton Rouge Health District and its member organizations in encouraging everyone to feel safe, prepared and comfortable getting the COVID-19 vaccine when you can.
Here are some things to be aware of:
· How soon you can get the COVID-19 vaccine depends on your age and health status/risk. Visit the Louisiana Department of Health website, ldh.la.gov, very often to see the latest information. You should consider this site the official source on who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and where you can get one.
· Vaccines are not given to walk-in patients. DO NOT show up at a clinic or pharmacy without checking first. Health officials say you must make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
· The vaccines are covered for $0 out of pocket on individual and employer health plans, Medicare and Medicaid. The federal government prepaid for U.S. Food & Drug Administration-approved COVID-19 vaccines through 2021. This coverage is included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Blue Cross will cover the vaccine’s administration without any member cost-share (deductible, copay or coinsurance) on most health plans. If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
· Be wary of cold calls, emails or texts claiming you can pay to get a COVID-19 vaccine sooner. Scammers are taking advantage of this situation, and several people have reported fraud. Be very careful about sharing any of your personal information or sending money, especially when dealing with people you don’t know. Even if the person is claiming to be from your healthcare provider’s office or your pharmacy, make sure that’s really the case.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, visit the Baton Rouge Health District’s COVID Safe website, brcovidsafe.com. When you get the COVID-19 vaccine, share a picture on your personal social channels using the hashtag #COVIDSAFE to show how you are protecting our community.
Slow the Spread
Steps you can take to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19 include:
· Wear a face mask when you’re around people who do not live with you. The mask must cover your nose and mouth. Only take your mask off to eat or drink, and put it back on as soon as you are finished. Remember that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a statewide mandate that requires residents to wear face masks in grocery stores, shops and other public places.
· Keep at least six feet between yourself and others. This is especially important while you’re eating or drinking, since you’ll need to remove your face mask.
· Wash your hands often. Keep hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol with you to use when you can’t wash your hands.
· Isolate yourself if you feel sick and contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms to watch for include sore throat, coughing, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, and/or a fever of 100.4 or higher.
The state of Louisiana launched a COVID Defense mobile app for contact tracing. The free app is available for Apple and Android devices. The app uses Bluetooth technology to let you know if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
You can post Blue Cross’ #MaskUp graphics to your personal social media to encourage taking precautions. Find and download the graphics at www.bcbsla.com/covid19. Blue Cross has also produced Spanish versions of the social graphics, which are available to download and share.
You can visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos with the medical directors and others discussing COVID-19 prevention and other health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can also connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates on COVID-19 and other health topics.
For more on what Blue Cross is doing for members during COVID-19, visit www.bcbsla.com/covid19.