LAFAYETTE, LA — The Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) announced major changes to local policy in response to the coronavirus.
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Lafayette’s city and parish’s leader as well as Acadiana’s local health authority and parish sheriff, each showed they are fully behind the proactive measure taken across every level of government.
“Lafayette Consolidated Government remains open to serve the public”, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said opening Friday’s emergency preparedness press conference. The words striking on the same day Louisiana citizens learned schools are closing.
Guillory ensured citizens that LCG operational departments and payments facilities will remain open; however, to accommodate those feeling a financial strain, the Lafayette Utility System will suspend all disconnections and late fees for 60 days. 300 people who were recently disconnected were also put back on the grid.
“This measure will help ensure our most vulnerable households, the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, and families with young children who are not in school for the next month, have power and running water to their homes during this public health emergency”, remarked Guillory.
LCG is working with the University of Lafayette and Lafayette Parish School Board for other ways to serve the impacted citizens on Lafayette according to the mayor-president.
To prepare for the spreading illness, the mayor-president’s administration formed a public health advisory task-force, headed by Dr. Tina Stefanski.
She said more than a dozen people tested for coronavirus in Acadiana. Though multiple tests are pending, so far none have returned positive. Medical professionals ask only those most at risk, like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, seek testing.
“If you normally would not seek medical attention for whatever symptoms you have at home don’t let this change anything”, urged Dr. Stefanski, Acadiana’s regional medical director for the Office of Public Health. “There’s no medication for coronavirus disease, and for 80% percent of people it is like a cold”, she said.
Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Mark Garber expressed his agreement with state and federal prevention measures, “This is the best strategy that we can employ. If we can hunker down now as a community, we have the best chance of effectively combatting this.”
Garber is taking extra measures to protect deputies’ and inmate’s health, shutting down auxiliary services, such as re-entry programs, and screening the temperatures and interviewing any person who enters the jail.
“We can go as long as this takes”, Garber stated. “We can absolutely sustain operations”.
The cancellation for public events is extending by two weeks through Sunday, March 29, but officials are encouraging everyone not to live in fear.
“Go about your daily business. Just use common sense. Use good judgment”, encouraged Guillory. “We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our people as best we can”.