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DHH Closes Additional Oyster Harvesting Areas Due to Oil Spill
Officials Continue Aggressive Testing

BATON ROUGE (July 5, 2010) - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced today the closures of oyster harvesting areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

The closures of areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are east of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.

New reports of oil, strong easterly winds and higher than normal tides were cause for these precautionary closures. They are being implemented based on information from field staff, trajectories from NOAA and accompanying closures from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

DHH Secretary Alan Levine and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the closure order, which will take effect at sunset today, Monday, July 5, 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.

In addition to regular testing schedules, DHH sanitarians are conducting enhanced testing of oyster meat taken from the beds to monitor for the presence of oil. Oysters being harvested in areas open for harvesting have been deemed safe by DHH.

In addition to the closures announced today, areas 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 remain closed. Areas 9, 10, 17, 19 and 21 remain partially closed. All other areas are open.

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

Officials with DHH are working closely the Governorís Office for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as the situation develops.



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