St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
May 29, 2020
7:00 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 29, 2020

The report from LDH for this date does not include any data from the last day. However, from yesterday’s report, the cumulative number of positive COVID-19 cases in the State were 38,802 with 2,661 deaths. This represents a statewide increase of 1,887 positive tests and an increase of 116 deaths over a six-day period. This averages to 312.83 positive tests and 19.33 deaths per day. The following is the count for our area from yesterday.

  • Acadia Parish: 401 cases, 23 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 588 cases, 46 deaths
  • Evangeline Parish: 75 cases, 1 death
  • Iberia Parish: 404 cases, 37 deaths
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 75 cases, 7 deaths
  • Lafayette Parish: 695 cases, 26 deaths
  • St. Landry Parish: 252 cases, 54 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 293 cases, 23 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 309 cases, 29 deaths
  • Vermilion Parish: 53 cases, 3 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 2,173 and 164 deaths. This is an average of 31.16 positive tests and 2 deaths per day over the last 6 days. Special note should be taken of the fact that two parishes in our region reported an outbreak in workers living in close quarters at crawfish farms. Otherwise, the increase would have been much smaller. Without considering the two parishes in question, the total increase in positive tests in Region 4 is approximately 22. In St. Martin Parish, our total increase in positive tests over the six-day period was 5, with an increase in deaths of 1.

Although LDH was unable to release any specific data on positive test results and COVID-19 related deaths, it was nevertheless reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations are only 714. Patients on ventilators total only 90. These numbers reflect an extremely important and encouraging downward trend.

TESTING SITES AND DATES

As previously reported, through a collaborative effort among the Parish, the Louisiana Department of Health, and Lafayette General Health, a comprehensive testing program has commenced in St. Martin Parish. 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.

Testing will be conducted in a drive-thru setting, and everyone should remain in the vehicle at all times. There should be no more than four people per vehicle. Community members will receive their test results within 24-72 hours via the MyHealth patient portal. Those with a positive result will also be contacted by phone.

Testing is available at the dates, times and locations listed below. Testing times are subject to change due to volume. For the safety of the healthcare workers, testing could be canceled due to weather conditions.

Testing Sites

205 persons were tested in the first two days of testing. This is a significant number and will be of great benefit as we proceed in the re-opening of our business and social pursuits. However, the increased testing does not mean that we should abandon measures such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, the wearing of masks in public areas, and the personal hygienic practices which have been publicized.

As stated in prior reports, the increase in testing will likely result in an increase of reported positive test results. That is to be expected. Thus, the focus should address the percentage of positive tests. I will seek to have updated information on that factor as our testing program progresses

The selection of the testing sites embraced a number of considerations including the location of other sites in our region. One major objective was to ensure that all of the residents of our rural areas had the benefit of a mobile testing site. Additionally, the avoidance of testing sites in close proximity with others in our region was likewise considered. This morning, I had a conference with Iberia Parish and confirmed that in the second week of June, there will be at least two sites in New Iberia available for testing, thus giving those in the Southern portion of our Parish reasonable access to a mobile site. If this does not materialize, then a mobile site in that area of our Parish will be solicited.

PHASE II RE-OPENING

Today, Governor Edwards confirmed that on Monday, June 1, 2020, he will announce whether the State meets the criteria necessary to enter Phase II of the re-opening of our businesses and the further removal of restrictions. I am optimistic that our state has met the gating criteria based upon my non-expert, lay evaluation of what I understand to be factors which must be considered. The ability to perform community testing is an integral part of the equation. Moreover, as I view it, increased testing has not only the obvious medical benefits, but it also gives the community a sense of security that they can begin to move about and engage in recreational and social activities without compromise to public health concerns. As such, I continue to encourage everyone to consider availing themselves of the phased removal of the measures against both our activities and our many merchants. We can most assuredly strike a proper, feasible balance between cautiously engaging in social, religious, and business activities while continuing to take health protective steps such as social distancing, wearing of masks, etc. They are not be mutually exclusive.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

ZOOM Meeting

Today, the Parish hosted a “zoom” conference with parish officials to discuss the upcoming hurricane season. Frankly, the reports we received were not encouraging and included predictions of river levels remaining high and the forecast for an active hurricane season. We received reports from Roger Erickson of the National Weather Service, Karen Buroker of the LDH, Lee John of GOHSEP, and Brandon Migues of DCFS. I can assure everyone that St. Martin Parish remains united and ready to address any storm event as effectively as possible. However, no one can prevent a storm from striking our area. Consequently, it is important for every household to adopt steps NOW to ensure that each family has the necessary supplies in the event of a storm and the loss of utility services. A laundry list of items one should have during hurricane season can be found on the parish’s OEP website, www.stmartinohsep.org.

Also, because of COVID-19, anyone who may feel constrained to evacuate in the event of a storm should make plans now relative to where they may wish to seek shelter. OEP will have information available relative to public sheltering; however, one may wish to seek alternatives in view of COVID-19.

At this point, I wish to personally commend Lt. Col. Terry Guidry and his staff for their dedication and professionalism during the last several months. They are always available to address all of the Parish’s emergency needs, and they provide invaluable assistance, advice, and guidance to my Office.