Chimp Haven Supporters,
Like you, Chimp Haven is monitoring the news and developing situation around the COVID-19 virus. As a supporter of Chimp Haven, I want to let you know how the sanctuary is preparing to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and the chimps.
First, as we announced earlier this week, we have made the decision to cancel this Saturday’s Chimpanzee Discovery Day. For more information on this cancellation, including what to do if you purchased tickets online, please visit our Chimpanzee Discovery Day web page. We will continue to share news about any future cancellations that may occur in the coming weeks.
As of today, there are 33 presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in the state of Louisiana, with one of those cases in the Shreveport area. Chimp Haven has no reason to believe that any member of our staff has been affected by the virus at this time. Per our normal policies and procedures, any staff member who suspects they are sick or who experiences symptoms of cold, flu, or upper respiratory virus is asked to stay home and see a doctor as soon as possible, and all staff has been briefed on what to do if they suspect they or someone in their household may have contracted COVID-19.
While it is currently unknown if chimpanzees can contract the COVID-19 virus, Chimp Haven staff is operating as if we know they can. Thankfully, Chimp Haven already has rigorous policies and procedures in place that are specifically designed to help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.
As a no-touch facility, our staff does not directly touch or handle the chimps, and all staff members wear personal protective equipment – including face masks, face shields, and gloves – any time they are in close proximity to the chimps or entering a chimpanzee living space.
While we believe that Chimp Haven remains a low-risk area at this time, we will continue to adhere to all normal safety procedures and closely monitor the chimps’ health and wellbeing. If risk at Chimp Haven should escalate, the sanctuary has a response plan in place to ensure chimps and staff remain safe and that daily operations continue uninterrupted.
As all of us continue to monitor this evolving situation, Chimp Haven’s primary priorities are the safety and wellbeing of our staff and the chimps, and ensuring that the chimps continue to live a happy, healthy life at sanctuary. We are so appreciative of your support and will continue to update you on any relevant news and developments.
Rana Smith, President & CEO