Lafayette Consolidated Government updated the public on the COVID-19 response at a press conference Friday evening.
LCG has filed a request with the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to provide qualified National Guard personnel to assist with and help staff the testing and screening site at the Cajundome. Spokesperson Jamie Angelle and Mayor-President Josh Guillory emphasized that the National Guard will be on site to assist with the site only. Guillory said the order had not been approved as of Friday evening, but added he does not expect any obstacles.
Guardsmen will fill various roles depending on their backgrounds, including medical services, security, and diagnostics.
Officials acknowledged rumors circulating of a mandatory lockdown, but reminded residents that the National Guard is only in Lafayette to staff and assist at the testing site. Lt. Cnl. Mark Primeck with the Louisiana National Guard was at the press conference with Guillory.
Guillory also announced an emergency order issued on Friday, including new restrictions on non-medical personal services.
Effective at midnight on Friday, March 20, and continuing until further notice, all non-medical personal services that cannot be performed without six feet of distance will be restricted. These procedures include, but are not limited to, haircuts, manicures, pedicures, spa services, massages, applications of cosmetics and tattoos, piercings, and other non-medical cosmetic procedures.
Physical interactions between people without six feet is "strongly encouraged," said Guillory.
Guillory said the orders come as a result of the best guidance being provided by public health officials and are consistent with Gov. Edwards' orders.
At the Cajundome testing site on Friday, 146 vehicles went through the site. 68 of those were screened out and 78 COVID-19 tests were administered. Officials did not run out of tests on Friday.
"The community itself has come together," said Dr. Doug Clement with Our Lady of Lourdes, adding that several area dentists have stepped forward and donated protective gear to the healthcare providers at the testing site. Dr. Clement has been on site administering tests at the Cajundome.
Guillory said additional sites are on standby if the extra capacity is needed. He said the single site is working as of now, but that could change.
Hours of testing are being considered on a day-to-day basis. The testing site will be open on Saturday, March 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
He referenced the governor's warning earlier this week that the state's healthcare system could be over capacity soon, and said officials are working to ensure that doesn't happen locally.
Earlier on Thursday, the 311 line was down for an hour from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Officials say they transferred the call switch to LUS Fiber in order to increase call capacity.
On Wednesday, 743 calls were received. 90 callers were referred to the Cajundome for testing, 50 were referred to their primary care providers, eight were immediately referred for emergency care. The remainder were provided general information regarding COVID-19.
Officials say the 311 line is effective to limit the number of people at the Cajundome.
The Louisiana Department of Health has established a "Keeping Calm through COVID" hotline for residents who feel they need assistance regarding mental health. That number is 866-320-7977 and is staffed 24/7 with counselors.
As of now, LCG officials are taking the COVID-19 situation one day at a time, and are making decisions in 15-day increments.
"Local government is prepared at many levels," said Guillory. "From level one of doing nothing," to the highest level, which is a quarantine. But Guillory again reiterated that is not happening now, to dispel rumors.
LCG officials are not planning any weekend press conferences, barring any significant events.
You can watch the press conference below:
Guillory's mayoral proclamation can be read below: