St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
April 10, 2020
6:00 P.M.

NEW FORMAT

I again remind you of the new page on the Parish website for COVID-19 information and updates (www.stmartinparish.net/coronavirus).

STEPHENSVILLE AND BELLE RIVER

Today, the Parish’s Director of Public Works Director and I visited Stephensville and Belle River to assess the conditions in that region of the Parish, including but not limited to, the water levels. Yesterday, Lt. Terry Guidry, our OEP Director, evaluated the situation in that area. As regard the water levels, I conferred with our Public Works Supervisor in Stephensville and confirmed with him that our emergency plans are indeed in place, as reported yesterday, and will be implemented in case the worst-case scenario presents itself. As I previously advised, 4 additional self-service sandbags sites have been selected for public use in Belle River and Stephensville, and I repeat the substance of a press statement released yesterday on that matter:

Parish President Chester R. Cedars has announced that additional locations for sandbags in lower St. Martin Parish will be established. To minimize interaction among members of the public in securing sandbags, the following sites will be open to the public at all times:

Two separate sites will be located at Doiron’s Landing near the carwash;
One site will be located at the bus turn-a-round on East Stephensville Road;
One site will be situated at the corner of Stephensville Road and Landry Road; and,
Two separate sites will be across the road from the Belle River Fire Station.

As a result of the extraordinary circumstances associated with the COVID-19 crisis, all sites will be self-service. However, anyone with any disability or who cannot obtain sandbags because of lack of assistance from family or neighbors should contact the Parish’s OEP at 337-394-2808.

As the community is aware, the replacement of two of the bridges on Four Mile Bayou Road continues. I caution all motorists who travel on the road to exercise extreme caution when crossing the temporary structures in place during this project. Furthermore, a No Wake Order remains in place in the entire area.

POSITIVE CASES FOR APRIL 10, 2020

LDH reports today that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the State now stands at 19,253 and 755 deaths. The number of reported positive tests in surrounding areas continues to rise. The following is the count for our region:

  • Lafayette Parish 330 cases, 12 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish 228 cases, 5 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish 140 cases, 6 deaths
  • Iberia Parish 121 cases, 5 deaths
  • St. Landry Parish 103 cases, 6 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish 100 cases, 1 death
  • Acadia Parish 94 cases, 4 deaths
  • Evangeline Parish 35 cases
  • Jeff Davis Parish 32 cases, 2 deaths
  • Vermilion Parish 22 cases, 1 death

The total reported positive tests in the above Parishes is 1,205 (107 more than yesterday); total deaths is 42 which is an increase of 5 from yesterday. St. Martin Parish continues to have the most positive cases and death save and except Lafayette and Calcasieu Parishes which are substantially more populous. For the benefit of Stephensville and Belle River, Assumption Parish (adjacent to Belle River) has 105 positive tests and 1 reported death. St. Mary Parish’s numbers are set forth above.

As I noted yesterday, this clearly is not the time for us to abandon the many mitigation measures which have been imposed, both locally and statewide. This includes the Stay At Home Orders which I have outlined in previously reports, especially the ones on March 25, 2020, and April 4, 2020. For easy reference, I repeat these suggestions which have been developed and disseminated by federal, state and local officials with unanimity:

SUGGESTIONS FOR BUSINESSES:
• Separate sick employees and send them home
• Limit the number of persons in and around your business or establishment at any one time
• Enforce social distancing requirements throughout the premises
• Provide easily accessible sanitizer and disposable disinfectant wipes for customers
• Routinely clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, shopping baskets and checkout stations or work stations
• Require employees to frequently wash hands or use alcohol-based hand rubs
• Encourage the use of curbside pickup or drive through service
• Be innovative and protective of your staff and customers

SUGGESTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS:
• If you are sick, respect your friends and neighbors, stay home
• Stay home unless you are performing and essential activity – see Stay at Home Orders
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow
• Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands
• Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched solid surfaces daily, such as doorknobs, light switches, and phones

No measure is more important than the STAY AT HOME Orders which have been imposed by Governor Edwards since March 22, 2020. We should stay at home except for those essential activities first spelled out in Section 3 of 33 JBE 2020 and revised for clarity in Section 2 of 41 JBE 2020:

“To preserve the public health and safety, and to insure the healthcare system is capable of serving all citizens in need, especially those at high risk and vulnerable to COVID-19, all individuals within the State of Louisiana ARE UNDER A GENERAL STAT-AT-HOME ORDER AND ARE DIRECTED TO STAY HOME UNLESS PERFORMING AN ESSENTIAL ACTIVITY. Further, all gatherings of 10 people or more shall be postponed or cancelled. This applies only to gatherings in a single space at the same time where individuals will be in close proximity to one another. An activity is essential in one of the following:”

Obtaining food, medicine, and other similar goods necessary for the individual or a family member of the individual.

Obtaining non-elective medical care and treatment and other similar vital services for an individual or a family member of the individual.

Going to and from an individual’s workplace to perform a job function necessary to provide goods or services being sought in a business which has not been ordered closed.

Going to and from the home of a family member.

Going to and from an individual’s place of worship.

Engaging in an outdoor activity at a place not otherwise ordered closed, providing individuals maintain a distance of six feet from one another and abide by the 10-person limitation on gatherings.

Since we are in the midst of the Easter Weekend, these dictates, which have the force of law, are even more important. As proof, simply look at the number of positive cases previously referenced.

INCLEMENT WEATHER

As most of you are aware, last night we experienced severe weather as a strong front moved through our area. The brunt of the storms was north of I-10 and was limited mostly to strong winds and hail. There was damage to trees and a number of power outages. At this point, I have no report of any homes or buildings being seriously damaged. Please note that another front is expected Saturday evening or Sunday morning. I ask that you remain prepared and take all precautions to protect yourselves and your property. Hopefully, the prospective weather will not be as bad as projected.

ADDITIONAL MITIGATION MEASURE

We have received, and I too have imparted, a ton of recommendations and orders all relative to addressing COVID-19, its spread, and its present and future consequences. There is one measure about which I have not spoken, nor have I heard promoted. May I suggest that you take time every day to PRAY. It is my personal belief that God remains in control. I know some of you may not believe, and that is your right and I respect it; however, I do believe and urge my fellow believers to call upon the Lord in these difficult times. I can think of no better message than Psalm 23.