St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
April 7, 2020
6:15 P.M.


I remind you, the Parish website has been revised to provide a separate category for COVID-19 information and updates ( Therefore, as I reference prior reports/updates, it will be much easier to access them.


The reports released by the Louisiana Department of Health today reinforces the admonitions from yesterday about the surge in COVID-19 positive tests in Rural Parishes. St. Martin Parish continues to have the greatest number of positive tests relative to other Parishes in our region except for Calcasieu and Lafayette Parishes. Today, our positive tests were 101. As I did yesterday, I will give the number and population of other Parishes in our area, keeping in mind that our population is 52,728:
Acadia Parish: 82 positive tests with a population of 61,923
St. Landry Parish: 60 positive tests with a population of 83,450
Iberia Parish: 89 positive tests with a population of 73,766
St. Mary Parish: 76 positive tests with a population of 53,558
Vermilion: 19 positive tests with a population of 58,663
Jeff Davis Parish: 25 positive tests with a population of 31,439
Lafayette Parish: 272 cases with a population of 226,886
Calcasieu Parish: 159 cases with a population of 194,323

The increase in St. Martin Parish positive tests since last Saturday is 57.8%. Since that time, our numbers have increased from 64 to 101. I am compelled to repeat my observations from yesterday:

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.


The LDH report released today at noon reflects that there are now 16,284 positive COVID-19 tests in Louisiana and 582 deaths. The number of reported positive tests in surrounding areas is 933 with 27 deaths:

  • Lafayette Parish: 272 cases, 7 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 186 cases, 3 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 101 cases, 4 deaths
  • Iberia Parish: 89 cases, 5 deaths
  • Acadia Parish: 82 cases, 2 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 76 cases
  • St. Landry Parish: 60 cases, 4 deaths
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 25 cases, 1 death
  • Evangeline Parish: 23 cases
  • Vermilion Parish: 19 cases, 1 death


The cooperation of our businesses, with a few exceptions, continues at a high level. Just today, a large business concern contacted me and advised that it was increasing the restrictive measures previously imposed. Our OEP and law enforcement continue to report that there is an obvious decline in movement throughout the Parish. This comports with my personal observations, as well.

I have been contacted about a report which gives a “low grade” to St. Martin Parish relative to the movement of its residents during this crisis. Supposedly, the report is from a company that tracts GPS data and has drawn its conclusions solely from that raw data. There has been no disclosure of the empirical nature of its analysis, nor any indication that it has the expertise to draw any conclusion from such information. Moreover, there is no identification of the source of the “GPS data” nor does the report account for the number of persons in our parish who work in another parish. Additionally, I note that all parish vehicles and equipment are equipped with GPS monitors. Our public works department is working regular shifts.

In any regard, I do not put much confidence in such reports. What I prefer to rely upon is the first hand information accumulated by our law enforcement and OEP personnel. Despite the foregoing, I do concede that I am concerned about the large number of positive tests from our Parish. To date, health officials can offer no viable explanation.


I remind everyone that we are constantly monitoring the water levels throughout the Parish especially in Butte La Rose, Stephensville, and Belle River. Also, in Stephensville and Belle River, we encourage our citizens there to avail themselves of the self-service sand locations behind the carwash at Dorion’s Landing in Stephensville, and across the highway for the fire station in Belle River.