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LCG: Flattening the curve stretches the time for reopening

Posted at 11:31 PM, Apr 28, 2020

Starting Friday, Lafayette Parish will follow Governor Edwards' lead to loosen some of the stay-at-home order restrictions.

Lafayette Parish, like other parts of the state, will allow patio dining without someone waiting on you and mall stores will have the option to offer curbside service. But during the Governor's address Monday, Edwards specifically called out Acadiana as part of the reason he is extending his stay at home order.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory acknowledges there is still work to be done to stop the spread of COVID-19. He said while many people at home are disappointed, frustrated or even angry at the Governor's decision to extend the stay-at-home order, he came short of saying he fully agrees with Edwards. Instead, Guillory said he understands where the Governor is coming from.

Nearly two weeks ago, Lafayette Parish was the first in the state to offer guidance to "gray area businesses" who were not deemed essential or explicitly told they could not open. Now, Lafayette Parish is preparing to cautiously loosen the restrictions on businesses.

"The simple fact is that Louisiana, several of its regions including Acadiana do not yet meet the federal criteria for phase one reopening," Guillory said.

According to Guillory, 85 percent of businesses in the parish are able to open up. Though he is ready to shift his focus from the health emergency to the economic emergency in Acadiana, Guillory knows precautions still need to be taken, especially as more deaths are reported.

"Across our region, we're still seeing new fatalities and cases," Guillory said. "Acadiana as a whole has recorded a doubling of fatalities since Easter. In some cases, we're not doing quit as well as we need to with social distancing and other measures. We're earlier in our cycle and we're working to ramp up testing in our rural areas of the region."

Health officials said Acadiana is still working to flatten the curve.

"Overall, the numbers are trailing down, but we do have some variability in our numbers," said Dr. Tina Stefanski. "Some days we will see a bigger increase. It could be from clusters, from people gathering. We really don't know exactly what some of those spikes might be. There's a lot of variability in our numbers."

Guillory still wants more local control over re-opening the economy. He pointed out ramped up testing and how Acadiana has not overwhelmed the health care system like New Orleans and other areas of the state.

"I can understand where the Governor is coming from. He's looking at this situation as a State and he has individual regions. As a region, I can understand him looking at those numbers and saying this is how we're going to go," Guillory said.

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