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Parish officials declare readiness

Scott J. Anderson
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Ascension Parish officials confirmed there has been one positive case of COVID-19 in the parish during a briefing Monday night. 

"It is unfortunate to have to announce that it has been confirmed, per the governor’s press conference, that a resident of Ascension Parish has tested positive for the coronavirus,” Parish President Clint Cointment said. “We are monitoring the situation and will keep everyone informed.”

Cointment filed an emergency declaration for the parish Friday, March 13.

“At this point, the number one priority is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public,” he said. “It is crucial to keep critical government functions fully operational. This is a fluid situation, and we are developing multiple plans depending on various scenarios. We’re working closely with our OEP, the sheriff’s department, our municipalities and, most important, our medical professionals.”

Dr. Chris Trevino said a drive-through testing facility would be set up at Our Lady of the Lake Ascension by the end of the week. 

"We are 100 percent open and ready to take care whatever medical need hits our community, that includes this virus," he said.

Trevino said the focus now is on slowing the spread of the virus.

"We know the virus has arrived," Trevino said. "We know it's going to make its way through our nation. But the speed at which it goes through our nation is critical. If the hospitals and our medical community are inundated, then we lose the ability to respond. So we are asking everybody to listen to all of the advice about isolating yourself so that we have time." 

He compared the virus to a flood. South Louisiana gets a lot of rain, but sometimes it gets too much, and the result is a flood. "Should (the virus) come too fast it and too much, it will overwhelm us," like a flood he said.

Dr. John Fraiche, Ascension Parish coroner, encouraged the public to follow the advice that's been given, including social distancing, covering a cough, washing hands and using hand sanitizer. He also said anyone who feels sick should consider alternatives to going to the ER or a doctor's officer, such as video conferencing or calling a doctor.

He said the parish is prepared for the virus.

"Ascension always responds well to any disaster," Fraiche said. "This disaster’s a little more difficult. It’s Invisible. If we do what we are supposed to do, I think we will get through this.”

Sheriff Bobby Webre said at the briefing that his department has canceled visitation and religious services at the jail. He said court proceedings are being conducted through video conferencing. His priority, he said, is protecting his workforce and the community.

"Our mission is to protect and serve," Webre said. "That is a vital mission we have to do on a 24/7 basis. We know we have to perform. How do we do that with a crisis of this nature? We have to protect our workforce."

sh during a briefing Monday night. 

It is unfortunate to have to announce that it has been confirmed, per the governor’s press conference, that a resident of Ascension Parish has tested positive for the coronavirus,” Parish President Clint Cointment said. “We are monitoring the situation and will keep everyone informed.”

Cointment filed an emergency declaration for the parish Friday, March 13.

“At this point, the number one priority is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public,” he said. “It is crucial to keep critical government functions fully operational. This is a fluid situation, and we are developing multiple plans depending on various scenarios. We’re working closely with our OEP, the sheriff’s department, our municipalities and, most important, our medical professionals.”

Dr. Chris Trevino said a drive-through testing facility would be set up at Our Lady of the Lake Ascension by the end of the week. 

"We are 100 percent open and ready to take care whatever medical need hits our community, that includes this virus," he said.

Trevino said the focus now is on slowing the spread of the virus.

"We know the virus has arrived," Trevino said. "We know it's going to make its way through our nation. But the speed at which it goes through our nation is critical. If the hospitals and our medical community are inundated, then we lose the ability to respond. So we are asking everybody to listen to all of the advice about isolating yourself so that we have time." 

He compared the virus to a flood. South Louisiana gets a lot of rain, but sometimes it gets too much, and the result is a flood. "Should (the virus) come too fast it and too much, it will overwhelm us," like a flood he said.

Dr. John Fraiche, Ascension Parish coroner, encouraged the public to follow the advice that's been given, including social distancing, covering a cough, washing hands and using hand sanitizer. He also said anyone who feels sick should consider alternatives to going to the ER or a doctor's officer, such as video conferencing or calling a doctor.

He said the parish is prepared for the virus.

"Ascension always responds well to any disaster," Fraiche said. "This disaster’s a little more difficult. It’s Invisible. If we do what we are supposed to do, I think we will get through this.”

Sheriff Bobby Webre said at the briefing that his department has canceled visitation and religious services at the jail. He said court proceedings are being conducted through video conferencing. His priority, he said, is protecting his workforce and the community.

"Our mission is to protect and serve," Webre said. "That is a vital mission we have to do on a 24/7 basis. We know we have to perform. How do we do that with a crisis of this nature? We have to protect our workforce."