Since the start of the pandemic, Terrebonne Parish has had over 10,500 cases of COVID-19 and 200-plus deaths related to disease, according to the Louisiana Department of Health’s data on June 9. Yet, a significant amount of residents are still saying no to the vaccine, which was made available to all Louisianans ages 16 and older in March. Amid increasing cases among unvaccinated individuals, the parish’s emergency preparedness chief and other officials urge community members to get vaccinated.
“The case numbers are going up, and the number of people being hospitalized is increasing also,” said Earl Eues, Director of Terrebonne Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “It was not like it was before the vaccine, but it is increasing amongst those who are not vaccinated.”
Eues highlighted the recent COVID-19 data during a Terrebonne Parish Council Public Services Committee meeting on Monday, June 7. He said 29,318 local residents have completed their vaccine process. With 25.9% of Terrebonne’s population vaccinated, the parish ranks 33rd out of 64, he noted. Since his last council update on May 24, Eues said, there has been a nearly 40% decrease in how many people are receiving the vaccine.
“The vaccination number is going to go up every time I come up here because every time you get one vaccination, the number is going to go up. The difference is how many people are getting the vaccine,” he explained. “And the trend is less and less people are getting the vaccine…Less people are getting the vaccine even though it’s more readily available.”
Eues made it clear during his presentation that the numbers show the virus isn’t dwindling in the parish.
“Our percent positivity has risen once again to 6.8%; that was an increase of 2.9% from our last council meeting [when it] was 3.9%,” he said. “…Number of presumed recovered at this time is 10,158 persons, which leaves 556 positive cases walking around Terrebonne Parish at this time.”
There’s a local rise in COVID cases, Eues said, with Terrebonne Parish ranked 6th in cases in the state on a per-thousand basis in the last seven days.
The hospitalization rates aren’t encouraging, too. According to Eues, the week of May 30, local facilities averaged about eight coronavirus patients per day and 9.6 the week prior. Four weeks before Monday’s meeting, Terrebonne hospitals were averaging approximately 1.4 a day, he said.
“So, the community risk of transmission in our parish is high,” Eues said. “The transmission of these cases are amongst non-vaccinated residents. Reports from the hospitals indicate that all the admissions in the hospital in the last few weeks — actually since the vaccine has come out and been distributed to the population in January — have been unvaccinated residents.”
Eues said the parish has seen 203 COVID-related deaths. “Those 203 people, I’m sure they wish they had an opportunity to get a vaccine instead of dying from the disease,” he added.
Several council members pleaded with the public to take the vaccine during the meeting.
“There’s some people, who on the advice of their physician, are not able to take this vaccination. So, if we’re able to, we owe it to those people who can’t to try to protect them,” said Councilman Gerald Michel. He added that although they fare well with the disease in most cases, children 12 and up should be vaccinated as well because they can become spreaders.
Councilwoman Jessica Domangue shared that she has lupus, an autoimmune disease, and her doctor encouraged her to get vaccinated. “I encourage people if they have any concerns to just call their doctors.”
“We went down in the twos in the positivity rate. Now we are close to seven again — it’s not good. We need to get that herd immunity out there,” Councilman Daniel “Danny” Babin said. “So, please everybody, go get yourself vaccinated.”
CLICK HERE to see a list of local free public health COVID-19 vaccination events scheduled for June.