Terrebonne Parish recently reported a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, with a total of 127 new cases being added since last Friday.
Parish President Gordon Dove confirmed the recent spike in cases was community spread, not in a congregate setting such as the jail as last time.
“This weekend’s increase, as I understand, was from a substantial group of young individuals who recently went on vacation and came home testing positive,” said Dove. “…I understand that they wanted a traditional trip, but I hope they have since quarantined, along with their families, so we can end this spike.”
Despite the increase in cases, Terrebonne parish will not be mandating masks in public in the coming days as other parishes, such as Jefferson, have.
Instead, the parish president said he has met with Director of Public Safety Steve Ponville, as well as Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman and Sheriff-Elect Tim Soignet, to enforce mask-wearing among store employees in retail outlets and restaurants. Masks for public-facing employees, and social distancing between employees and customers, is required in Phase 2 by the Governor’s executive order, which can be read here. Occupancy limits were also set at 50 percent of fire marshal’s capacity, and will be enforced.
“I’ve noticed myself that a lot of employees are not wearing masks. People are getting lax on wearing masks,” said Dove. “We will start enforcing this order to hopefully help bring our numbers back down.”
The current trend among new cases, not only in Terrebonne and Louisiana, but in the nation, is positive cases in the younger age brackets, specifically in 18-29 year olds. On Sunday, the Louisiana Department of Health shared that 43 percent of the reported cases over the weekend were among people 29 years old or younger.
“Some in Louisiana may be done with COVID, but I promise you that COVID is not yet done with Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said in a statement over the weekend. “I especially want to call on the young people of our state, those ages 18 to 29, to take this illness seriously. This is the age group with the largest numbers of new cases and while you may think you are invincible; you are not. Moreover, you should make sure you don’t spread the illness to others, especially those most vulnerable to it.”
Dove reiterated the governor’s statement, saying, “The biggest thing is people have to take this seriously. I think a lot of young people don’t believe they can get it…No matter how old you are, you can get it. Young men and women seem to fare pretty well with the virus, but they unknowingly bring it home to mom and dad or maw maw and paw paw. It’s a big risk they are taking, getting out and bringing it home to their families.”
While not mandatory in Terrebonne Parish at this time, Dove also reminds the public to please wear your mask: “I understand it’s optional,” he said, “but please wear it.”