Louisiana

Ouachita Parish official offers different perspective to COVID-19 numbers

Ouachita Parish officials are looking at local and state COVID-19 numbers in a different perspective. Ouachita Parish Police Jury president Shane Smiley says it’s time to offer a more positive outlook on the numbers concerning the virus.

“You know that positive number is very, very small, and I don’t think that people really realize how small that number is,” Smiley says.

There are more than 350,000 people living in the 12 parishes that make up region 8 in northeast Louisiana “We only have 0.4 percent of the population that is positive for COVID-19,” Smiley says. “That leaves us with 99.6 percent of our population in region 8 that hasn’t been found to be positive for COVID-19.”

Smiley says many tests have also come back negative too. “Of some 14,000 people that have been tested for COVID-19, there’s about 11 percent of those that have been tested that have COVID-19.”

Smiley adds the curve for the coronavirus was flattened three to four weeks ago. Still, he expects numbers to continue to slowly rise. “What we’ve continued to see is the positive results spread out over four weeks, so that our hospitals weren’t overtaken by surge capacity.”

Smiley says given the low case numbers per capita and the number of people practicing social distancing and sanitizing among other things, he says now would be the time to allow people to loosen or end the current stay-at-home order.

“These people from all walks of life are responsible adults,” Smiley says. “I think for us to continue to insult the general population’s intelligence and act as if they don’t have enough sense to take care of themselves and go back out into the community in a safe and responsible manner is ridiculous.”

Smiley says he’s confident that if and when people return to normalcy, there won’t be a spike in positive COVID-19 cases.

Smiley says they’re planning to bring a mobile testing unit to region 8 in the coming weeks. More details will be released next week.


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