LAFAYETTE, La. — Friday afternoon Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory one person has officially died from coronavirus in Lafayette Parish.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that we have officially recorded our first death from COVID-19 here in Lafayette Parish”, began Guillory during the daily press briefing.
No age or additional information was given, but the Louisiana Department of Health should publish the age of the victim during the daily noon web update Saturday.
According to the mayor-president other deaths in the parish will be announced once families are notified.
“That’s a sobering reminder of how serious this situation is, and how vigilant we must be”, Guillory said.
With confirmed cases in Lafayette Parish more than doubling in two days, (Friday (44), Thursday (30), Wednesday (20)), Guillory said the response of our community is critical to ensuring we flatten the curve and prevent overwhelming our local health care system.
“We are dealing with a virus that is deadly”, Guillory warned. “We are dealing with a virus that is spread through human contact. Social distancing, while I can’t order you, at least at this time, to not be on top of each other, I can encourage you strongly to use common sense.”
No additional restrictions were announced in response to the escalating local spread but extending the curfew on minors to include adults is being considered.
Guillory said it will take the public’s cooperation to avoid the situations like Italy and New Orleans, “Complacency kills. We always, we constantly have to be thinking of the next step.”
Some of the next steps include obtaining more rapid read test in local hospitals. Guillory said he’s hopeful that will happen in the coming weeks, which would lessen the need for the Cajundome screening site.
Guillory said Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) and the Louisiana Economic Development Authority (LEDA) are “getting ahead of the curve” by opening a new call center on Monday that will be part of the city’s 311 information phone line:
- From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., business owners, employees and those looking for jobs can call 311 and press ‘2’ to get information on how to apply for small business loans, unemployment benefits and find businesses that are hiring. The call center will be based at LEDA with personnel knowledgeable with this information. If callers cannot get through, they can leave a message. Guillory said he expects to be able to provide same-day call return services for those who leave messages. The call center will be expanded as needed.
- From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., business owners who prefer physical printed copies of business resources and applications can pick up a packet from the LCG City Hall drive-thru.
Early next week, Guillory said he planned to share more information on his new Economic Recovery Action Team.
“The economic consequences of this situation are every bit as serious as the public health consequences,” said Guillory.
Finally, Guillory said those looking to donate personal protection equipment should do so at the drop box at City Hall or at the Cajundome screening site between 8:30 a.m and 10:30 a.m. Doing so allows LCG to distribute the equipment where it is needed most.
“There’s nothing more serious of losing a member of our community”, lamented Guillory. “But when we look at the totality of the circumstances, we as leaders here in the parish, and across this state, and our country, we have to balance all the impacts that this virus will bring.”