The City of Shreveport has stepped to the plate in a new way as the local COVID-19 health emergency landed our community in the national news after a rapid increase in positive tests for the novel coronavirus.
The virus has a median incubation period of just 5 days and as few as 2 days, meaning it is probable that many of the cases seen in the last few days are associated with people infected after the stay-at-home order was enacted on Monday, March 23.
In recent days, concerned citizens and medical professionals had been calling for more action from local or state leaders as compliance with the spirit and intent of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ order fell short. Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, like Edwards, has focused his efforts the last few weeks on asking the community to act in the interest of themselves and their neighbors by staying home and observing social distancing when not at home.
That approach evolved on Monday, as a new effort to slow the spread in Shreveport was revealed during a press conference headed by Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond.
“Unfortunately, some citizens and businesses have not properly followed the directives implemented by Governor Edwards and the Shreveport Police Department is being forced to take criminal enforcement actions,” said Raymond.
“Effective immediately, any business or gathering which has previously been warned that they are operating in violation of the governor’s emergency proclamation will be issued a misdemeanor summons.
“The business owner and management of the business or the organizer of an event, can expect to receive that summons.
“Those businesses or gatherings which are considered egregious and are knowingly in violation of the governor’s prohibition against ten or more gathering in close proximity of one another, may not receive a warning and can expect to be issued a misdemeanor summons upon the initial contact.”
Raymond said that the implementation of a summons to hold violators accountable was tied to the Governor’s stay-at-home order. At the time of the chief’s press conference, the order was set to expire after April 13th, but the order is set to be extended to April 30th this week.
Under the stay-at-home order, you can:
- Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
- Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
- Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
- Care for or support a friend or family member
- Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
- Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
- Help someone to get necessary supplies
- Receive deliveries from any business which delivers
You should not:
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.
Raymond was also quick to explain how he would rather keep his resources free for other, more traditional public safety needs.
“The police department is not looking for work… the manpower that’s… used to enforce the stay-at-home order reduces the number of officers that can effectively respond to other emergencies and more severe criminal acts. We are asking for everyone to heed the governor’s warning and not force our hand in having to take more drastic enforcement measures.”
Raymond added a plea to businesses and citizens:
“If your business model does not meet that need of criticality, then you’re a non-essential business and we’re asking you to heed the advice of the governor, close operations temporarily so that we can flatten the curve within our state and decrease the number of people being effected by COVID-19.”
For information on testing and state response, visit http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus/
For more information on the stay at home order, visit gov.ouisiana.gov/home
For instructions on best reducing risk of infection and transmission, and what to do if you’re sick, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/