LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Consolidated Government held a press briefing on Thursday to provide updates on the continuing COVID-19 public health emergency.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said that said that Lafayette Parish continues to see major increases in cases with the biggest rises from bars, restaurants and food processing facilities.
Guillory also said that this phase of increases appears to be largely driven by those under the age of 30.
He added that these younger people may be less susceptible to certain effects of the virus, but may also be bringing the virus home to infect parents and grandparents who may be more susceptible to the effects of virus.
Guillory also said that local law enforcement was stepping up compliance checks for businesses who may not be following the governor's orders.
He said that businesses who have been cited and are still not complying could be fined $500, face jail time or could be subject to having their business shut down.
Guillory was also asked about whether he was considering a mask mandate for Lafayette Parish as other parishes around the state have with high numbers of cases.
"I join the 63 other parish presidents and the governor when I say that the enforceability of a mask mandate is not practical," said Guillory, adding that it would require too many stipulations. "I do believe in the power of the people to use good judgment."
Guillory then said he urges residents to continue to increase their personal hygiene, wash their hands, social distance and wear a mask if they can’t social distance.
Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region 4 Office of Public Health Medical Director, was at the briefing to discuss the region's continuing increase in COVID-19 cases and percent positivity.
Stefanski seemed to disagree with Guillory when she was asked about a mask mandate for Lafayette Parish.
"I do think it would be helpful to have mask wearing to be enforced," she said. "I do wish it would be mandated."
Stafanski added that wearing masks in public won’t drive down transmission of the virus unless about 80-90% of people do so.
As of Thursday, July 9, the Louisiana Department of Health reported that Lafayette Parish had a total of 3,293 cases of COVID-19, which is up 166 since Wednesday. LDH also reported that Lafayette Parish has a total of 50 deaths with no additional deaths reported since yesterday.
You can read more from the LDH update here.
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