St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
May 5, 2020
7:30 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 5, 2020

The report from LDH for this date reflects that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the State is 29,966 with 2,042 deaths. This represents, over a four-day period, a statewide increase of 1,285 positive tests and an increase of 115 deaths. The number of reported positive tests in surrounding areas also increased. The following is the count for our region:

  • Acadia Parish: 136 cases, 10 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 470 cases, 34 deaths
  • Evangeline Parish: 63 cases, 1 death
  • Iberia Parish: 274 cases, 23 deaths
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 65 cases, 6 deaths
  • Lafayette Parish: 473 cases, 20 deaths
  • St. Landry Parish: 198 cases, 47 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 247 cases, 19 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 212 cases, 23 deaths
  • Vermilion Parish: 40 cases, 1 death

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 1,431 and 121 deaths. This represents an increase in Region 4 of 64 positive cases and 7 deaths since May 1, 2020 (4 days). Our increase in St. Martin Parish over that 4-day period is an encouraging 6 cases and 2 deaths, the latter certainly being disappointing. The percentage increase in positive cases in Region 4 is 4.68%. The percent increase reported on May 1, 2020, was 9.185%. This is extremely promising since the gating criterion which was cited as one of the bases for there not being a Phase 1 reopening was a lack of a downward trend in positive cases. Indeed, Region 4 was specifically mentioned as having not met that requirement.

Last Friday, I advised that I had discussed with LDH my concerns about factoring in positive tests of individuals confined in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. It seems imprudent to include in the application of the gating criteria clusters of positive tests of those in such facilities. The focus is the control of the spread of the disease from a communal perspective as regards meeting the gating criteria. Clusters of cases in one facility presents a different issue and can be easily controlled to prevent a communal spread. Of course, we need to address with vigor these clusters in our nursing homes.

Moreover, in an attempt to ascertain a “real-time” idea of the number of positive tests in the “community”, it seems to me that one ought to consider the number of recovered cases, subtracting both that number and the number of positive tests confined to long term care facilities. Of course, we cannot lose sight of the fact that many people with COVID-19 symptoms, but not in a high-risk category, are not tested. Also, many people have the virus, but are not asymptomatic.

Yesterday, such discussions transpired among a number of Parish Presidents and epidemiologists with LDH wherein I again referenced the foregoing. I am hopeful that this “link” will be an integral part of the chain of considerations when the gating criteria are next assessed relative to a phased re-opening.

OUTDOOR RELIGIOUS SERVICES

The Governor announced that outdoor religious services will be permitted and on Friday the State Fire Marshal and LDH published a memorandum of the parameters of all such services. I have discussed this issue with many of the clergy throughout the Parish, and the services over the weekend were well received. Also, I have advised that pavilions in the Parish Parks, although closed for other reasons, may be used for religious services so long as the criteria published by the Fire Marshal and LDH are followed.

Also, this Thursday is the annual National Day of Prayer. There will be a ceremony on the lawn of the Courthouse beginning at 6:30 P.M. If you plan on attending, please bring your own lawn chair. I attach a copy of the pertinent notice regarding this event:

ST. MARTIN NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
Thursday May 7th at 6:30 PM
COURT HOUSE LAWN

As approved by the Governor of the State of Louisiana, and in accordance with the guidelines of the Office of State Fire Marshal and Louisiana Department of Health, St. Martin Parish will hold the National Day of Prayer on Thursday May 7th at 6:30 PM on the St. Martin Parish Courthouse Lawn on Main Street in St. Martinville. The side streets adjacent to the Courthouse Lawn will be closed to allow seating for proper social distancing.

Prayer Participants are asked to bring their own lawn chair. All attendees shall be seated 6 feet from other attendees. However, family members can sit together, and each family group should keep a 6 feet social distancing space from other attendees. Masks are strongly recommended for attendees. However, all sponsors and managers of the event will wear masks. These guidelines have been given by the State of Louisiana and approved by the Parish President Chester Cedars.

The Louisiana Department of Health has recommended that persons not attend if they are 65 years or older or have the identified comorbid, chronic health conditions. We are asking citizens of St. Martin Parish to join us at the prayer event if possible, but the event will be Live Streamed on the City of St. Martinville Facebook page for those citizens who must continue to shelter in place.

2 Chronicles 7:14 declares that if God’s people will humble themselves, pray and turn from their wicked ways, then God would hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.

May God, Hear us, Forgive us, and Heal us.

St Martin Parish National Day of Prayer
Chairman, Mike Fuselier

OPENING OF PARISH FACILITIES

On Friday, May 1, 2020, all of our Parks were opened, including the children’s playground equipment. The pavilion, ball fields, and basketball courts remain closed, however. I have instructed that Uncle Dick Davis RV park will be opened this Thursday, May 7, 2020.

As I prepare this report, I anticipate that all Parish Government offices will be opened to the public commencing no later than May 18, 2020. I am daily monitoring the matter and at this stage will continue to abide by the dictates of the Governor’s guidance implicit in 52 JBE 2020. Any reopening of the Parish facilities will be pursuant to well defined protocols designed to protect both our employees and the general public.