There are now at least 11 cases of the Coronavirus in Union Parish (as of noon Wednesday), according to Greg Gossler, Director for the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Union Parish.
As more tests for the virus become available and more results are reported, the belief is that the number will continue to rise.
That is the shock factor in all this, Gossler believes. “The more testing that is done the more statistical information we will have and people will see that,” he said Wednesday morning. “Yesterday was an alarming increase. That was because of the data coming in and because of the increased number of tests that have been conducted.”
The parish remains on restrictions, along with the rest of the state and nation, to try and limit the spread of the virus.
People need to really take this very seriously and understand the need to stay at home,” Gossler emphasized. “When they have to go out, limit their exposure, keep up social distancing practices with a minimum of six feet between themselves and others and just practice good personal hygiene.”
Gossler, and others, have noticed that many people are conducting themselves in a business-as-normal type situation. “We really need to get away from, bite the bullet and bear down for the next 3-4 weeks and have a concerted effort to maintain social distancing and stay away from crowds as much as possible.”
Many official activities have been shut down around the parish. The Union Parish Detention Center has even had to stop its work release program. “We had two work-release inmates at Foster Farms test positive,” UP Sheriff Dusty Gates said. The Department of Corrections has shut that down.”
Union Parish Police Jury President Johnny Buckley declared an emergency in the parish last week and has limited official business as well.
“We’re doing no more than necessary,” Buckley said. “We are all in the same boat, following the directives we are given. I hear from (Homeland Security), the Department of Corrections and the Sheriff ’s office every day. I talk to our Roads supervisor every day. We are continuing some of that work with a limited crew. We’ll start some mowing this week with a limited crew. Some things we don’t have much choice with, we have to continue to pick up garbage and run the landfill.”
There is a nation-wide shortage of PPE (personal protection equipment). Those places that are hardest hit will get the bulk of the supplies before places like Union Parish will.
“We continue to have daily conference calls with Region 8. The next two weeks are going to be critical.”