The Department of Health announced today that public health workers throughout the state would respond for duty on Monday, August 30.

 But, due to their efforts to assist with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, parish health units will not be open for general business. In addition, all other public health services not associated with the hurricane response will be suspended until further notice.

 At this time, LDH's public health staff is assisting with emergency response, the staffing of Special Needs Shelters, responding to drinking water concerns, assisting hospital staffs, and many other duties.

 According to Dr. Fred Cerise, LDH Secretary, public health staff serves as the backbone for the State's emergency health response in situations such as Hurricane Katrina.

 "Our staff will continue working around the clock to respond to the hundreds of emergency situations that exist due to Katrina," Dr. Cerise said. "Citizens needing standard public health services such as birth and death certificates, restaurant and sewer inspections, and West Nile virus reports should bear with us as we respond to Katrina."

 Cerise added that LDH's Office of Public Health will have minimal crews in place to respond to crisis situations not associated with Katrina. Citizens needing public health assistance should call the nearest OPH regional office.