Three state parks that were being prepared to accept people who have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are now accepting patients recovering from the virus.
The three parks now accepting recovering patients are:
- Chicot State Park near Ville Platte
- Lake Bistineau State Park near Doyline
- Bayou Segnette State Park in Jefferson Parish.
State park officials say the sites will be used, if needed, for people who test positive for the virus and don't need hospital-level care, but can't go home. For instance, an infected person who lives with a family member in the high-risk category might stay there to recover.
According to officials, each site will be used for people living in that region. Talks are underway in other regions to identify and prepare sites for similar use.
State park officials stated that the three parks currently have 50 occupants and have served 92 patients to date.
As of March 30, these state parks have served the following number of patients:
- Segnette - 46
- Chicot - 2
- Lake Bistineau - 2
As a service to the health and medical facilities in those areas, these state parks became unavailable for public use effective Wednesday, March 18.
Visitors were evacuated from the parks, and guests will be contacted by Louisiana State Parks reservations agents to transfer to another park or request a gift card or refund for the amount of their stay.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, whose office oversees Louisiana State Parks, issued the following statement on the parks:
Unfortunately, we understand that this is going to impact our visitors with plans to visit Chicot State Park and Lake Bistineau State Park. But I would like to repeat - the greater mission right now is to do everything possible to get this situation under control so we can all resume normal operations. These are two of our most beautiful parks, and we will thoroughly clean them before reopening for the enjoyment of our visitors. Louisianans have always come together in time of need and I'm sure we can get through this together.
All other Louisiana State Parks are open and operating normally for the enjoyment of the public.