A press conference was held Monday morning in Opelousas on the surge of COVID-19 in Acadiana.
St. Landry Parish Officials were joined by the Region 4 Office of Public Health at the Delta Grand at 10:00 am
Parish Officials discussed the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and are asking residents in Region 4 to wear masks to help stop the spread.
the parish sits at 10.3 percent positivity for COVID. St. Landry Parish officials say in the region, numbers are not yet high, but they are hoping to curve that increase the state is seeing.
For schools, Superintendent Patrick Jenkins says that school will be opening as normal on August 18. He is recommending that the board adopt a mask mandate for the school system. The board will hear that recommendation and vote on August 5, 2021.
They hope to stay in line with recommendations from the CDC. St. Landry is one of the first parishes to request testing for school students, staff and other employees. This would be voluntary testing for those who wish to be tested.
Jenkins says that right now, students will go back to school in person but as time passes, they may change to different phases of learning if cases increase or if the state changes phases.
St. Landry Parish says they are following three recommendations, vaccinate, mask, and test.
In hospitals, Opelousas General says that over 30 percent of patients that come into the hospital for treatment are COVID positive. Over 30 percent in the emergency room are COVID positive patients.
They are seeing over 40 percent of patients under 50 years of age.
Dr. Tina Stefanski, Director of Region 4 Office of Public health says that 266 patients are in hospitals with COVID as of Monday. 31 of those patients are on ventilators.
The large majority of patients with COVID-19 are younger individuals who are not vaccinated, Stefanski said.
"The Delta variant spreads more easily," she said.
They are seeing staffing shortages in hospitals as cases rise. Officials in St. Landry Parish are asking residents to get vaccinated and wear masks.
Stefanski says the region is leading the state in new vaccination rate. They hope that continues to rise.
Officials say that currently in Louisiana the surge could last in the state until mid November, they say.
Opelousas Police says they are responding to large gatherings in the city. Chief Martin McLendon says that the public health issue put his officers in danger.
"We are in a bad position because we are responding to large gatherings," he said. "We will have to start making decisions on whether we will have to shot those places down."
St. Landry Officials say that they are supporting small business owners and their decisions to keep customers and employees safe.
Sunset officials says they are continuing and will continue to keep their residents safe.
"We are all on that sharp increase, that surge," Stefanski said. "We have to deal with the resources we have in healthcare and we have to protect the men and women who work in healthcare."
Stefanski said that spreading is mainly in work sites, large gatherings.
Governor John Bel Edwards will speak at 2:30 pm on Monday to discuss Louisiana's response to the ongoing fourth surge of COVID-19 cases in the state.
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