Tuesday afternoon, St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff and St. Mary Parish Coroner Dr. Eric Melancon held a press conference on COVID-19 response.
Hanagriff said that at noon on Tuesday the state confirmed 22 cases in the parish. Locally, that number is 23 cases.
The parish president says their number is higher due to local physicians investigating reported cases in the parish and the ability to confirm before the state updates numbers.
He does ask that the state numbers be followed. No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported but officials say that could change in the coming days.
Currently, Oschner St. Mary in Morgan City is equipped with 50 beds for patients and can add more based on the need to 110. He says they are fully staffed but are also looking for short term staff to assist from local doctors offices.
Franklin Foundation has around 90 beds. They are addressing staffing issues as well.
In the Parish, PPE (personal protective equipment) is good for 30 days provided the parish does not receive the surge they anticipate. Officials says that PPEs are coming in at a slower rate for the area due to population size in the parish.
Residents in the parish are asked to practice social distancing and only go out when absolutely necessary. Residents can still go out but are asked to do so sparingly to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Hanagriff urged residents to change their mindset and take this seriously.
On or around April 8 or 9, the parish is expecting the inpatient and bed capacity to go to zero. Dr. Melancon says that this may change but is how they plan their response.
No drive through testing has been set up for the parish but they are working on plans. There are also plans to take care of inmates at the parish prison along with all personnel at the facility.
Rapid response tests will be looked into at Franklin Foundation but that has not been put into place. The Chitimacha Tribe has access to these rapid tests and Dr. Melancon has spoken with those leaders and asked them to utilize the test.
Dr Melancon says that areas where patients are being treated or quarantined at home will not be released in the parish. Melancon says that it adds to the fear and confusion. Hanagriff clarified that identify patients through zip codes would not be accurate as several zip codes in the area are outside the parish.
Hanagriff has not called for a parish-wide curfew or in unincorporated areas. Several local cities has instated their own curfews for minors. The City of Patterson set a curfew for residents from dusk to dawn. Read more here.
Officials say that law enforcement will be looking for those who are going against the states orders to limit gatherings. Citations will be issued for those who go against that guidance.
Hanagriff was asked about local churches still holding service. He hopes that those going against the gathering order would adhere to that guidance. Actions against these groups may be taken but Hanagriff says that will have to come from the Sheriff's Office.