St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
May 17, 2020
5:30 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).

FUTURE REPORTS

As I previously advised, these public reports will be provided on a periodic basis as opposed to daily submissions. Of course, in the face of an important development on any issue of any nature, I will most assuredly promptly advise the public accordingly.

POSITIVE CASES FOR MAY 17, 2020

The report from LDH for this date reflects that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the State is 34,432 with 2,425 deaths. This represents, over a one-week period, a statewide increase of 3,015 positive tests and an increase of 231 deaths. The number of reported positive tests in surrounding areas over the last also increased. The following is the count for our area:

  • Acadia Parish: 198 cases, 12 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 517 cases, 40 deaths
  • Evangeline Parish: 66 cases, 1 death
  • Iberia Parish: 353 cases, 32 deaths
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 69 cases, 6 deaths
  • Lafayette Parish: 590 cases, 23 deaths
  • St. Landry Parish: 231 cases, 51 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 274 cases, 22 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 269 cases, 29 deaths
  • Vermilion Parish: 44 cases, 3 deaths

The seven Parishes in LDH Region 4 (Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion) reflect a total number of positive tests of 1,756 and 144 deaths. This represents an increase in Region 4 of 242 positive cases and 11 deaths since May 10, 2020 (7 days). The percentage increase in positive testing in Region 4 is 15.98% compared to a state percentage increase of 9.59%, all over a seven-day period. These numbers, however, must be digested in view of two important factors. First, MORE people are now being tested as the State implements its statewide plan. Second, on Thursday, there was a significant increase in the number of cases reported in Region 4 because positive tests were reported to LDH by labs which had not previously reported. In other words, tests results were allowed to accumulate over several days (or even longer) before they were reported.

Overall, I am optimistic and over the next week, I will try to focus on determining the percentage of tests administered which yield positive results. Also, I am interested in ascertaining the number of positive tests which emanate from a “cluster” setting such as long-term care facilities and nursing homes. I reference in this respect my comments from my report on May 5, 2020.

RE-OPENING OF BUSINESSES

There were several posts from last week regarding the re-opening of many of our businesses. Thus far, we have received positive reports about those establishments which are now, AND AT LAST, re-opening. My thoughts and prayers are with our many merchants, their families, and employees. My hope is that the re-openings will be met with excitement by our community and that as the days go by, we will see greater relaxation of restrictions. We must strike the proper balance between public health concerns and practical, commonsense business considerations. I know that Parish Government and every single municipality will assist businesses in any way possible.

If any business has not done so, I again encourage registration with the website https://opensafely.la.gov/. This site is equipped to provide guidelines which are specific to each classification or type of businesses. If any measures change, the revisions are sent directly to the merchant by e-mail. Also, questions peculiar to a specific business will be answered by the State Fire Marshal, the agency which is sponsoring the site. I invite the reader to review the post from last Friday.

OPENING OF PARISH FACILITIES

All Parish facilities will be opening to the public tomorrow, pursuant to specific protocol. Everyone entering Parish offices will have temperatures checked and required to wear a mask all in accordance with White House guidelines and recommendations. Of course, social distancing will be practiced.

The re-opening of the Courthouse has been particularly challenging. Last Wednesday, I had a Zoom conference with all of the judges, clerks of court, and sheriffs regarding several issues. The meeting was very productive, and it appears that the approach in St. Martin Parish has been finalized and will prove to be effective and efficient.

FLOODING ISSUES

Over the last week or so, there have been substantial rainstorms both in Acadiana and in the areas north of us. Unfortunately, St. Martin Parish has experienced flooding in the southern part of our Parish, particularly Stephensville. Yesterday, it was necessary to declare a State of Emergency for that area which allows for immediate emergency mitigation measures to be implemented. A significant number of our public works employees were dispatched to the region to address the flooding. Parish Government will be closely monitoring the situation over the next several days. The response to the flooding was structured so as to present minimal exposure of our public works personnel and the public to COVID-19.