5:30 p.m. Update: The Louisiana Department of Health confirms a second case of COVID-19 in St. Landry Parish.
UPDATE: An individual from St. Landry Parish has tested positive for COVID-19, officials said at a press conference this morning.
"This is not unexpected, we expected this and we expect additional cases in Acadiana," said. Dr. Tina Stefanski.
This person has been extremely responsible, and has been following isolation protocols, Stefanski said. They are not in the hospital right now, she said.
"I have no concerns," she said.
When asked about testing, Stefanski said people who are well will not be tested at this point; the tests need to be reserved for people at high-risk and people with symptoms.
"At this point, the test doesn't pick it up if you're no symptomatic. The tests are limited nationally. We would like to be able to test everyone with symptoms, but we can't do that right now. The test takes several days to come back. As the number of tests increases, it may take longer. it's not a quick-result test," Stefanski said.
At the press conference - where officials practiced clear social distancing, unlike other recent governmental press conferences - Stefanski offered updates on what we know about COVID-19.
Stefanski said severe illness leading to hospitalization can happen at any age, she said. There are cases in the U.S. where we have younger adults who have had serious illness and have been hospitalized.
The risk for serious illness and hospitalization can occur at any age, but in the U.S. it has happened to people of any age, she said.
"There is a lot we don't know about this virus, so what you need to do is follow the advice of officials," she said. "Stay home when you can, if you go to work keep your workplace clean, practice social distancing."
If people don't act now, there will be a snowball effect in a couple of weeks, she said.
"Remember that your actions impact those older people, elderly, people with underlying health conditions," she said.
In past pandemics, when people strictly follow social distancing and isolation precautions, we see better outcomes, she said.
State Sen. Gerald Boudreaux said information will relieve some of the fear people are feeling.
"Words have meaning," he said. "We can't say we're going to quarantine people, when we get to those levels you will know in advance."
"We don't want people to panic. Flatten the curve - that's what we're trying to do. The actions we take today will impact us in the weeks and months to come," she said. "When we see people gathering, that's really not necessary. Don't stock up, don't hoard groceries. Help those who may be at more serious risk. Offer to do those things for them. Practice safe hand hygiene. It's not complicated, it's very simple. Do what you need to do, but keep those precautions in mind as you go about your business."
Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said a local bar is in defiance of the governor's proclamation, and he said he's already working to fix that.
"He will close, and the proper action will be taken if he refuses," Guidroz said.
The sheriff said he heard the owner is saying that "Congress" said he can stay open.
"He must have seen that on Facebook or something, but it's not so," Guidroz said. "Congress does not run the show here in St. Landry Parish."
Economic development officials also were on hand to assure businesses that efforts are underway to try to help businesses weather the storm. For information about unemployment and other help available, click here.
Businesses can also access help here.
Chief McLindon said that a lot of citizens are asking how they can get reports, and he said they should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish government officials and Dr. Tina Stefanski, regional medical director for the Office of Public Health are scheduled to speak.