(Editor’s Note: Concordia Parish Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness Tim Vanier provided the following information on the COVID 19 emergency efforts locally and statewide.)
I have received several phone calls, text messages, and Facebook messages in regards to the rumor of the National Guard being deployed in the next 48 to 72 hours for a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all Louisiana residents.
That information is not true. It is totally false and is being spread through social media, text messages, and by word of mouth … This is the kind of rhetoric that begins to cause fear and paranoia throughout our community, and it is up to us as the leadership of Concordia Parish to get factual information to the public to dispel false information.
I have spoken with every Mayor or Mayor’s Office in Concordia Parish to get a pulse of how things are going with the Governor’s Declaration for Concordia Parish and for each of the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). I was very encouraged by the feedback and comments that I have received from each. I am assured that each AHJ is being diligent in their efforts to abide by the Emergency Declaration set forth by our Governor.
Concordia Parish seems to be heading in the right direction and taking all the necessary precautions to combat the spread of the COVID-19.
A lot of information was passed on to the OEP Directors in Louisiana through conference calls with different regions throughout the state. Below the OEP Office is distributing this information as fast as it is gathered:
Homeless Patients: There are (4) camps set up and ready to receive homeless patients in the State of Louisiana that is suspected and/or showing signs/symptoms of the COVID-19 Virus –
Chicot Bayou State Park in Ville Platte.
Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego.
Bayou Grande Cheniere in Plaquemine.
Lake Bistineau in Minden.
These camps are equipped with supplies, medical staff, and isolation and are ready to being receiving any homeless COVID-19 patients.
These camps will be accepting homeless patients that are suspected of having the COVID-19 virus and if the results come back positive for COVID-19 they will remain there until they are cleared.
If the results come back negative they will be transported elsewhere.
These camps have made arrangements with Acadia Ambulance service to transport homeless patients suspected of COVID-19 to the camps.
New Procedures for positive notification of COVID-19 Virus: LDH will only be reporting one time a day now at 12:00 noon.
Currently there is a 4-5 day lag time in completion of the testing of the sample and reporting to LDH from the time the sample was taken.
As soon as LDH receives a positive test the parish of that patients residence and parish that the sample was taken from will receive notification within 2 hours of the reported time to LDH via email
The order of notification is as follows:
First, the doctor will receive the results.
Second, the patient will receive the results.
Third, the Parish OEP of both where the sample was taken and the residence of the patient will receive the results.
The notification will include the patients name, address, and age – this information will be shared with the first responders (EMS or Fire Department) that transported the patient for their safety.
This information is not to be shared with the public in any form – there are still privacy laws in place.
All OEP Directors that receive these results are to destroy any documentation of these results for continuity of patient privacy.
Rapides Parish will begin on March 24, 2020 with a drive through testing tent – this testing tent is not just for residents of Rapides Parish, but for anyone that is showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and running a 100.4 fever.
It is designed for fearful possible COVID-19 patients – it is not designed for fearful well patients.
If positive COVID-19 patients refuse to self-quarantine law enforcement it is requested that the Concordia Parish Coroner sign a protection order for the safety of others.
PPE and Medical Supplies: GOHSEP in Baton Rouge is receiving truck loads of supplies at this time for those who have requested PPE and Medical supplies. However, these supplies are being prioritized according to the need for the parishes that have COVID-19 patients, which puts Concordia Parish on a low priority list since we have no confirmed cases.
Riverland Hospital and RiverBridge Hospital (formerly Promise Specialty) in Concordia Parish should receive some of the supplies that have been requested but the requested orders will not be completely filled at this time – they will fill the supplies they have as they receive them.
Gloves and N95 mask have been the most requested supplies through out the state and is the most limited in the United States, also the vacuum containers with media are very limited.
Tyvek suits, face shields, gowns, and etc. are going to start being delivered soon.
CISA Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers: The OEP Office has been in contact with Heather Malone the Concordia Parish Director of Economic Development in regards to questions concerning essential personnel and non-essential personnel.
Concordia Parish is following the orders and mandates issued by Governor John Bel Edwards and also the recommendations from CISA – emails have been sent to all AHJ concerning this topic.
A hotline has been setup for any businesses in the State of Louisiana that has questions concerning the essential versus non-essential personnel according to the CISA recommendation 1-866-288-2484.
However, Concordia Parish OEP Office is recommending that all businesses follow the recommendations of CISA and minimize your workforce to 10 people working at a distance of greater than 6 feet apart for Non-Essential workforce.
The OEP Office is not requiring that Non-Essential businesses close down, but is requiring that they follow the recommendations of CISA as mentioned above with 10 people or less.
The OEP Office will be sending out information mandated by the President concerning employee benefits in regards to COVID-19 virus as soon as possible.
National Guard: There are currently 699 National Guardsman on duty and ready to respond through out the state of Louisiana to offer assistance if called upon.
The OEP Office has been in constant contact with the National Guard over the last few days and has not requested any help at this time due to the fact that there are no COVID-19 patients in the parish.
Banks: All Federal Reserve Banks will remain open as long as possible.