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Parish president: Wear masks

This article was written by Washington Parish President Richard “Ned” Thomas.

As of noon on April 20, 2020, the Department of Health is reporting 195 cases and 11 deaths in Washington Parish from COVID-19. (Editor’s Note: Those numbers increased to 206 cases and 13 deaths in Tuesday’s LDH release).

It was great news that the case numbers for Washington Parish only increased slightly, a total of seven over the weekend. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the state were down, but unfortunately increased by 46 from yesterday. While Louisiana and the parish appear to be flattening the curve, we must not let our guard down.

I continue to monitor CDC guidelines and information from Gov. John Bel Edwards. My hope is we can begin to re-open our economy sooner than later.

We can only accomplish this if we all follow recommendations for stopping the spread. Our essential businesses must continue to have strict sanitizing and distancing rules for their shoppers. Our citizens must continue to practice social distancing, limiting our gatherings to 10 people or fewer while continuing to adhere to the six-foot distance between you and the person next to you.

As recent CDC guidelines suggest, I would like to see all citizens wearing a mask in public. If you don’t have access to one, CDC recommends using a cotton T-shirt or pillowcase, as they are both lightweight and breathable. A new report on FOX8 stated Walmart is requiring all of its employees to wear a face mask. I request all essential businesses, if possible, to follow suit.

I am happy to report we received our reusable mask donation from Hanes on Monday morning, and will begin a distribution process for the general public beginning with our local food banks and the Council on Aging.

I would like to remind everyone the stay at home order remains in effect until April 30, 2020. And I ask everyone again to use their contact list to remind everyone of all the guidelines and executive orders that remain in effect.