Several Acadiana coastal parishes are making preparations for Tropical Storm Cristobal as it moves north through the Gulf of Mexico amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the possibility of landfall on Louisiana's coast, some emergency preparedness offices in Acadiana say they have had to make changes to their regular preparedness plans to take into account COVID-19.
Rebecca Broussard, director of the Vermilion Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says that they have had to make adjustments to their evacuation plan for the critical transportation needs because of COVID-19.
"We have to allow more room per person because you have to look at everyone to possibly be COVID-19 positive," said Broussard. "And less people can be transported on a bus together also."
David Naquin, director of the St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says that their preparations are basically staying the same, but they are experiencing an issue with the handling of potential evacuees.
"Not only will we have some COVID-19 evacuees that have tested positive but placing non-positive persons in a congregate setting has issues of its own," said Naquin. "As a result, some will decide not to evacuate because they do not want to be placed in a shelter with persons that may or may not have been screened for COVID-19. This will further burden us and other first responders."
Naquin adds that their main concern with hurricanes is the flood potential.
"We issue evacuation orders for the protection of our community," said Naquin. "If people decide not to evacuate when they normally would have, we will have to be prepared to use additional resources to assist them."
Acadiana residents can visit http://www.GetAGamePlan.org to prepare before and after a storm.
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