St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
July 2, 2020
3:00 P.M.


I again remind you of the new page on the Parish website for COVID-19 information and updates (


The news remains bleak relative to the continuing rise in COVID-19 reported cases (both in number and percentages) and hospitalizations. The report from LDH for this date reflects a cumulative number of positive COVID-19 cases in the State of 61,561 with 3,147 deaths. This represents a statewide increase of 1,383 positive tests and an increase of 17 deaths in one day. The following is the count for our area:

  • Acadia Parish: 945 cases, 37 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 1,852 cases, 59 deaths
  • Evangeline Parish: 202 cases, 1 death
  • Iberia Parish: 792 cases, 44 deaths
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 399 cases, 9 deaths
  • Lafayette Parish: 2,472 cases, 46 deaths
  • St. Landry Parish: 672 cases, 57 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 750 cases, 26 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 514 cases, 38 deaths
  • Vermilion Parish: 273 cases, 6 deaths

The seven Parishes in LDH Region 4 (Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion) reflect a total, cumulative number of positive tests of 6,106 and 217 deaths. This is an increase of 234 positive tests and 1 death since yesterday.

COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide are 840 with 91 patients on ventilators. Since yesterday, the hospitalizations increased by 41; however, the number of patients on ventilators increased by 7. In Region 4, there are currently 136 hospitalizations with 10 patients on ventilators. THIS IS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF HOSPITALIZATIONS SINCE THE PANDEMIC COMMENCED.

The data I reference herein is based upon the statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health. Moreover, the Region 4 data, including the number of hospitalizations, are provided to my office directly. Therefore, I am especially comfortable with the accuracy of this information with regard to the number of hospitalizations and patients who are on ventilators.

No one can challenge that the State of Louisiana, and especially Region 4, has seen significant increases in the number of COVID-19 positive tests, deaths, and hospitalizations since June 13, 2020. More telling is the fact that the largest age group of COVID-19 cases is from 18-29 years of age. The second largest age group are those between the ages of 29-39. The strongest of our population is now getting sick and being hospitalized. So much for the notion that COVID-19 is not as virulent as it was at the outset of the pandemic.


The public reaction to the startling rise in cases and hospitalizations has ranged from pure, absolute apathy (the so what attitude) to calls for a retreat to the initial Stay at Home orders imposed last March. Both of these extremes ignore the significant, negative impacts of the upward trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases as regards our businesses/industry and SCHOOLS. As to the latter, virtual learning is unfair to the school children; thus, we must do everything we can to get students back into the classrooms. However, we cannot overlook the dangers associated therewith to both the students and our teachers-not to mention the myriad of transportation issues posed by the reopening of schools in the face of the current upward trend.

Consequently, our focus as a state and community should be on determining the root cause for this growing trend which commenced on June 13th. Then, remedial steps can be adopted (or followed) to remediate this trend. As such, two critical, irrebuttable observations must serve as the starting point of the assessment:

1. The virus does not move about, people do.
2. The Phase 2 relaxation of restrictions, and the opening up of our businesses IS NOT the root cause of the spike. The virus did not read about Phase 2 and decide to infect more people.

We have been told time and again by healthcare and public health officials the reasons for the increase in the numbers. Sure, there is more activity and congregating of people; however, health officials nationwide tell us that the spread of COVID-19 can be stymied by adherence to social distancing dictates and the mere wearing of masks. Phase 2 did nothing to CAUSE the spread of COVID-19. Rather, current spike is the product of the inexplicable decisions of the public to ignore the warnings and advice of public officials relative to the aforementioned safety measures.

Of course, under the Governor’s executive orders, the wearing of masks is mandatory for all business employees who interact with the public. On the other hand, the wearing of masks is simply recommended for the general public when they leave their homes and interact with the public. I cannot understand why we, as a community, will not adhere to these simple, albeit often inconvenient, measures. It cannot be stated too often that, health officials, without significant dissent, recommend social distancing and the wearing of masks, and postulate that such measures will indeed stop this alarming trend. I am constrained at this juncture to repeat this message which was recently shared with me:

“I wear a mask because if the experts are correct, I could potentially prevent someone from getting sick and dying. If the experts are wrong, the most I’m out is the inconvenience of wearing a piece of fabric on my face.”

In conclusion, I humbly request that our business owners commit to following the conditions imposed upon them for Phase 2, primarily, the distancing and mask wearing requirements. Similarly, I again ask the general public to practice social distancing and wear masks when interacting with the public. There is no reason for us to continue to read and hear about record hospitalizations associated with COVID-19. Rather, the news we should be hearing ought to be about the radical reversal of the trends which we are currently experiencing. We have the solution, according to the health experts. It is up to us to avail ourselves of same.


I wish everyone a very safe and happy Fourth of July. Our country may not be perfect; however, I challenge one to name a nation that offers more than the United States. Moreover, our nation has always portrayed the courage to face and correct its mistakes. God bless you, your loved ones, and the USA. I am proud to be an American.