Acadia Parish Sheriff KP Gibson issued a statement to the residents of his parish today, pleading with them to cancel large gatherings and take orders to stay at home seriously.
Gibson said he has spoken with health experts who are concerned about the spread of the virus in Acadia Parish, because some of the spread indicates people are not staying away as they've been asked to do.
Here's the full statement:
Since this pandemic began, we have been working together with officials from our parish, state and national government.
Over the past several weeks we have seen a continual climb in the number of cases within our region. As of Sunday evening, we have experienced over 70 residents who have had a positive test for this virus and 2 deaths in Acadia Parish. We are praying for all, especially those with positive tests and those who have lost a family member.
Each day we have multiple conference calls, local calls and discussions on the strategy to overcome this deadly virus. We post information or make tough decisions which affect every citizen of this parish, not to be controlling but to try and stop the spreading of the Coronavirus.
We have seen extreme limitations on social gatherings, been instructed to distance ourselves from our friends and love ones. We are experiencing a hard hit on our economy and the workforce that has either been laid off, taken pay cuts or working reduced hours. Our businesses are suffering as well.
These decisions are not simply made by government officials. They come from the professional health care experts who are recommending and guiding those who make the decisions in an effort to end this pandemic. Please understand the reasons for these decisions even if you disagree with them.
This morning I spoke with officials from LDH (Louisiana Department of Health) regarding Acadia Parish. They are extremely concerned as they are seeing two areas of growth. The first is from family member to family member. In a majority of cases these family members live in separate households. This means that they are not keeping themselves separated from one another. Second is cases from work place environments. People continue to go out to locations for more than essential needs. Until recently, families were going out together as a unit. This is what concerns the people who know this virus. We need to stay home, stop visiting and get through this by working together.
With this week being Holy Week, we are known to have fish fries, crawfish boils or one of our other great meals from Cajun Country. However doing this means large gatherings. By having these large gatherings on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, we are setting ourselves back. We are gambling with the health of our community as well as our family and friends. I normally host events for my family which would put 20-30 family members at my house. I am not doing it this year because I love them and do not want to do anything to jeopardize their well being.
I am asking you, no I am actually pleading with each of you to please think about the dangers of large gatherings, failure to exercise social distancing and to remember that we can reduce and eventually stop this virus by working together as we do for so many different causes in our great parish.
If we do not follow the advice of our healthcare professionals who are advising us, then we need to prepare for the long road ahead.
Please stay safe and God bless each and every one of you.