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OPPJ President says many new COVID-19 cases in the area due to increase in testing

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Analysis from InvestigateTV shows, over the last seven days, the Monroe-Ruston area had 428 new COVID-19 cases, the third-largest amount of new cases per capita in the country.

The analysis included cases from Ouachita, Lincoln, Morehouse, and Union parishes, all part of Region 8 in the Louisiana Emergency Response Network.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley said it’s important to consider testing when looking at these new numbers.

Smiley said, in Region 8, only about one percent of those tested were positive for the virus. He said Ouachita has tested about 12 percent of its population, with only about one percent testing positive as well. He said they’re testing more than in many other parts of the country.

Smiley said, during that seven day time period of the analysis, testing increased. He said new labs came online and late reporting came in as well. He said, taken together, it may look like the area has seen a larger increase than it actually did.

However, he said it’s important to remember the pandemic isn’t over, and people may have begun to let their guard down. He said it’s important to stay vigilant with safety precautions such as hand-sanitation, mask-wearing, and social distancing.

“I think all those things we’ve been doing for months, some of us are still doing and some of us are not. So I think the more we do those things, the better off we will be,” he said. “However, I think at some point in time, we’ve got to move on to the next phase, and begin to get our economy back on track.”

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