St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
June 18, 2020
4:30 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).

INCREASE IN POSITIVE CASES

As most of you are aware, over the last several days, Region 4 has seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 positive tests. There are several factors which are the driving forces behind those increases and include primarily:

• An increased amount of testing;

• The increased amount of activities associated with the Phase 2 re-openings; and,

• An abandonment by the general public of the personal hygienic measures such as, but not limited to, social distancing, wearing of face coverings, and frequent washing of hands.

Health officials continue to warn us about the continued presence of the COVID-19 virus in our communities. Indeed, the spike in the positive tests have uniformly been described by health personnel as “worrisome.”

I remain optimistic about a continued relaxation of the restrictions on our businesses and industries. However, as I have commented on prior occasions, there is absolutely no incongruency between continuing to avail ourselves the re-openings and a continuation of safe practices such as social distancing and wearing of face coverings. We can and should DO BOTH without compromise to either.

OUTBREAK AT ST. MARTIN PARISH BUSINESS

As I reported yesterday, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among employees as a work site located in St. Martin Parish. This information was communicated to my office on Tuesday evening. We verified that the Louisiana Department of Health had immediately, and continues, to address this issue. Employees at the facility have been tested together with their families. Moreover, any employee who did not test positive will be re-tested as a matter of caution. Moreover, appropriate measures have been implemented by the Department of Health to control this outbreak. The owner(s) have been cooperative.

There are several points which merit comment:

• The facility is not the type which interacts directly with public. Patrons do not go in and out of the business.

• The business has not been identified in order to protect the privacy and medical interests of the employees and their families.

• If disclosure of any information beyond that previously released would be of any public benefit, then that data would most assuredly be forthcoming.

Finally, because of this outbreak, the number of additional positive test results for St. Martin Parish have increased substantially. The increases for our Parish on Tuesday (June 16th) was 30 and on Wednesday (June 17th) was 60. Although no data will be released for this date, June 18th, the Department of Health personnel have advised me that our increase in positive tests results will be in the neighborhood of 54. At my request, the Department of Health has agreed to provide me with the number of positive tests associated with the outbreak; therefore, we will be able to determine the number of positive tests outside the parameters of this cluster. In this connection, I quote the comments in an e-mail to me form Monday evening relative to the low positive rates from the community testing which commenced two weeks ago:

“To date, we tested 1,046 with a total of 23 positives……..great news!

So pleased to know that St. Martin Parish has low positive rates! Congratulations!”

Therefore, I am acutely interested in the statistical impact of the aforementioned outbreak.

TESTING SITES AND DATES

The comprehensive testing program in St. Martin Parish has been adjusted by Lafayette General Health Systems. No public testing will be conducted until Monday, June 22, 2020, at which time testing will commence at the Catahoula Park, located at 1028 Catahoula Park Road. The testing will be on Monday and Tuesday from 8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, testing will be conducted at Magnolia Park in St. Martinville. Lafayette General Health Systems has place on hold the scheduled testing in Stephensville pending a prevalence study being conducted by Ochsner Health. We are hopeful that the testing will be re-scheduled upon completion of the prevalence study.

I am constrained to respond to some misplaced comments about the decision of Lafayette General Health to adjust the testing schedules. This decision did not emanate from St. Martin Parish Government. Moreover, we were fortunate to have been able to secure the cooperation of LGH, and we are grateful for their efforts. The adjusted testing times and dates are, according to LGH, adequate to perform the contemplated testing. Finally, testing in Stephensville will be addressed upon completion of the prevalence study. Remarks that the Parish is not concerned about any area of our Parish are an outright affront to the facts. If anyone wishes to discuss this issue with my office, he/she will be given an audience.

Testing is available to anyone, even those who may be asymptomatic. Members of the community should bring a valid ID and insurance card, if applicable. There are no out-of-pocket costs for those seeking a test, and no one will be turned away based on their insurance status. Hence, those who have no insurance or funds to pay for a test will nonetheless be tested. ALL TESTING IS VOLUNTARY. Also, one need not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 or be a member of a high-risk category to be tested. No physician referral is necessary.

FATHER’S DAY

This Sunday, June 21, 2020, is Father’s Day. I encourage everyone to make a special effort to reach to your father or grandfather and remind them how important they are to you. If your father is no longer with you, take a moment to remember the very special times you shared with him. With the uncertainty associated with COVID-19 and the social unrest we are experiencing, I can think of occasions where we need the guidance and leadership which our fathers provide. And, if you are a Father, take a moment to cherish the opportunity you have to set a positive example.