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PRESS RELEASE

DHH Partially Closes Oyster Harvesting Areas 2 and 3 Due to Oil Spill
Officials Continue Aggressive Testing

BATON ROUGE (May 28, 2010) - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced today the closure of oyster harvesting bed areas 2 and 3 in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

The closures, which will take effect today at sundown, are east of the Mississippi River in St. Bernard Parish. Areas 2 and 3 are closed at 29 degrees 57 minutes 29.6 seconds north latitude; thence northward to Isle au Pitre at 30 degrees 09 minutes 20.5 seconds north latitude from the double rig line westward to 89 degrees 17 minutes 10 seconds west longitude.

DHH Secretary Alan Levine and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the closure order, which will take effect at sunset today, Friday, May 28, 2010.

DHH officials have been working closely with local, state and federal agencies to monitor the oil plume that continues to grow off of the Louisiana coastline for its potential impacts on oyster harvesting areas. Meanwhile, employees with DHH's Office of Public Health Molluscan Shellfish Program have continued regular testing of 8 million acres of coastal waters along the Louisiana shoreline.

In addition, DHH scientists and register sanitarians are conducting enhanced testing of oyster meat taken from the closed beds to monitor the presence of oil, called hydrocarbon testing. Additional testing is also being conducted in unaffected oyster beds. These tests will create a baseline, which will be used to ensure the safety of oysters once the incident clears in order to reopen beds.

Areas 8, 10 through 15, 17 and 28 remain closed. Areas 9, 19, 21, 22 and 23 will be reopened as of sunrise May 29.

The public is encouraged to call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-256-2775, to report the presence of oil or an oil sheen.

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