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LCG: second death reported in Lafayette Parish

Posted at 1:46 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 20:18:03-04

The Lafayette Consolidated Government reported a second death in Lafayette Parish due to COVID-19.

LCG made the announcement during its daily briefing outside city hall on Tuesday to give an update on COVID-19 in the parish.

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory reminded residents that they are urging them to stay home, wash their hands and maintain social distance while avoiding social gatherings such as parties of 10 or more people.

Guillory urged residents to honor the early store hours that are being set aside for the high risk population such as the elderly to accommodate their shopping needs.

Guillory also urged that more large retail stories implement similar accommodations in their operating hours for high-risk groups to shop.

Guillory also reminded residents of the One Buggy, One Person rule when doing their shopping at grocery stores.

Guillory thanked Congressman Clay Higgins for his work in securing an $850,000 block grant for local housing from the Housing and Urban Development funding in the CARES Act that gives broad discretion for local needs.

He said that he would be working with local stakeholders on how best to use those funds.

Guillory revealed that he had a text and phone conversation with Saints Quarterback Drew Brees who has committed some of his own money and help from the Brees Dream Foundation to help the local service industry.

Guillory said that Brees has offered to fund daily meals offered by his foundation and Walk-On's for local unemployed and those who are recently out of work and awaiting unemployment benefits.

Guillory said that LCG was offering to help with logistics for giving the meals with non-essential personnel.

Guillory thanked Brees and his family and said that they care deeply about the area and are active members in the local community.

According to Guillory, 200 meals were handed out in 45 minutes at the Robicheaux Center on Monday. There will be 450 boxed lunches available at the center on Wednesday offered on a first come, first served basis.

Guillory said that these meals are specifically for those who find themselves recently out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak and response and do not yet have access to benefits.

Guillory reminded residents that tomorrow is Census Day and the results of the Census form the basis for state and local funding.

Guillory urged citizens to participate in the Census through mail, over the phone and online at 2020Census.gov.

Guillory said it is important that everyone participate in the Census at their earliest convenience because it is vital for the parish and state to receive the funds they need.

Lafayette Parish Mark Garber then took the podium to address questions about enforcement of the social distancing measures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Garber said that they are taking reports of potential social distancing violations on a case-by-case basis.

He said that there are different reasons that people are getting together and the sheriff's office will take into account if a gathering is following social distancing measures.

He added that the sheriff's office will look at the spirit of what they are doing, too.

For instance, he said, a report of a gathering of more than 10 people at a horse arena where everyone is properly spaced apart will be treated differently than a report of an adult birthday party that refuses to disperse.

Garber said that the sheriff's office will contact the event's organizers first to warn them to disperse before taking enforcement action.

Garber said there is a criminal penalty for violating the governor's Stay-At-Home Order.

"I think what people need to realize is that this is not just about yourself," Garber said. "You can't simply make a decision that 'well, I'm gonna be OK with being exposed to other people or being in a close proximity.' Because, if you spread the virus then you are affecting your neighbor. You are directly affecting the youngest and oldest, and, in fact, every member of our community."

"Because I think what we know now about the virus is that every single age group is likely to catch it," he said. "And, you don't know until you get it whether or not you're going to have very severe reactions to it."

"And I'm going into these tangents so that the public can understand why we're going to take these actions, why we're going to ultimately enforce what I personally wouldn't agree with under any other circumstances, which is to take away someone's constitutional rights of assembly and so forth," said Garber. "Those are suspended right now. I want to be clear about that."

"We have a larger public safety mission at hand," said Garber. "And, that's why we're going to do what we have to do to preserve law and order in Lafayette Parish."

In Lafayette on Tuesday, 118 cases of COVID-19 were announced. Only one death has been reported.

A look at numbers for Louisiana can be found here.