St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
April 6, 2020
5:45 P.M.

 

NEW WEBSITE FORMAT

The Parish website has been revised to provide a separate page for COVID-19 information and updates (www.stmartinparish.net/coronavirus). Therefore, as I reference prior reports/updates, it will be much easier to access them.

BUSINESS CONTROL MEASURES/CURFEW

As I reported Saturday, most of the “essential” businesses in our Parish have adopted voluntary measures to control the number of patrons on their premises at any given point in time. This morning, I conferred with OEP and Sheriff personnel who monitored this issue over the weekend. According to the reports I received, those self-imposed measures have been effective in reducing the number of shoppers. There is one medium-sized “chain” which is presenting some concern, and those outlets will be contacted and requested to adopt measures. If we receive no cooperation from them, then by executive order I will impose restrictions – a step which should not be necessary.

Also, on one person-one shopping cart policy is particularly effective.

The curfew imposed last week has proven to be successful. I am appreciative of the compliance by our community and the support of our municipal leadership.

NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES/VIOLATIONS

Governor Edwards’ Executive Order 41 JBE 2020, (the latest Stay At Home Order) identifies in Section 2 (A) those businesses embraced by the guidance of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency which remain open without any restrictive measures. These businesses include, by way of example only, those which provides ESSENTIAL goods and services such as medical care, food, medicine, repairs (home and transportation), and critical infrastructure. Section 2 (B) of the Order identifies specific businesses which must remain closed such as bars, movie theaters, fitness centers, and barber shops/beauty salons, to name just a few. Then, in Section 3 (C), the Executive Order provides that any other business (one not specifically closed or one not deemed “essential”) may only remain open provided:

1. Only necessary workers are on duty;
2. There is adherence to the 10-person limitation; and,
3. Minimal contact is maintained among the necessary employees and general public, and social distancing is practiced.

Over the weekend, I was advised that at least one “non-essential” business was having its entire workforce report which would result in greater than 10 persons being present and social distancing would likely not be practiced. Additionally, reports of three barber shops being opened surreptitiously were submitted to me. These complaints were transmitted to OEP for investigation and if necessary, remediation.

Later, I will attach another outline of the Stay At Home order for everyone’s reference. For the reasons stated in the following section, compliance with that order is absolutely and positively necessary.

SURGE IN RURAL AREAS
ST. MARTIN PARISH HAS THE MOST POSITIVE TESTS

This morning, in a conference call with representatives of parishes and municipalities in our region, Dr. Tina Stefanski advised that the Department of Health was detecting and anticipating a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in RURAL Parishes. Her admonition was soon followed by the LDH reports of positive tests for this date which reflect that ST. MARTIN PARISH has the greatest number of positive tests. We have 90 POSITIVE TESTS, AND OUR POPULATION IS 52,728 COMPARED TO:

  • Acadia Parish: 79 positive tests with a population of 61,923
  • St. Landry Parish: 52 positive tests with a population of 83,450
  • Iberia Parish: 83 positive tests with a population of 73,766
  • St. Mary Parish: 73 positive tests with a population of 53,558
  • Vermilion: 17 positive tests with a population of 58,663
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 21 positive tests with a population of 31,439

Lafayette Parish has 260 cases, with a population of 226,886, and Calcasieu has 159 cases with a population of 194,323.

These numbers speak for themselves and merit no detailed commentary from me. We have in place as many, if not more, measures than the foregoing Parishes. There may be numerous explanations for these numbers ranging from the possibility that more of our Parish have been tested relative to other Parishes to an overall lack of adherence to all of the measures which have been imposed. Frankly, I have no answer except that it seems to me that what is most relevant in all of this is the fact that measures and the enforcement of them cannot alone stymie the spread of COVID-19 if citizens do not take this seriously and adhere to behavioral measures which are in place. Hopefully, we in St. Martin Parish will continue to respect and follow all of the imposed measures, all of which are designed to impede the spread of the virus and protect our health care system, ourselves, and our fellow citizens throughout the State.

I invite all of you to read an article published in the Morning Advocate yesterday entitled, “What is Wartime Medicine During Coronavirus? Louisiana Health Care Workers Brace for It.” This article is an eye-opening account of what happens when our health care system is overburdened.

POSITIVE CASES FOR APRIL 6, 2020

The LDH report released today at noon reflects that there are now 14,867 positive COVID-19 tests in Louisiana and 512 deaths. The number of reported positive tests in surrounding areas is 857 with 26 deaths:

  • Lafayette Parish: 260 cases, 6 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 159 cases, 3 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 90 cases, 4 deaths
  • Iberia Parish: 83 cases, 5 deaths
  • Acadia Parish: 79 cases, 2 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 73 cases
  • St. Landry Parish: 52 cases, 4 deaths
  • Evangeline Parish: 23 cases
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 21 cases, 1 death
  • Vermilion Parish: 17 cases, 1 death

We learned today that there had, over the last couple of days, been duplicative reporting of cases. However, Dr. Stenfanski advised that LDH is now using a new platform for recording and reporting positive cases and the previous problems should not reoccur.

SPRING FLOODING

We are constantly monitoring the water levels throughout the Parish especially in Butte La Rose, Stephensville, and Belle River. The gauge at Butte La Rose is now functioning properly having been reset today. The level is at 20 feet with projections for a peak on April 11, 2020, at a height which should not cause any issues. In Stephensville and Belle River, we seem to be holding our own; however, we encourage our citizens there to avail themselves of the self-service sand locations behind the car wash at Dorion’s Landing in Stephensville, and across the highway from the fire station in Belle River.