LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Acadiana is one of the three medical regions Governor John Bel Edwards listed most as holding the state back from phase one of reopening.
On Tuesday, the local leadership inside Lafayette Parish addressed why.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said he could understand feelings of frustration, disappointment, and anger as he came to accept the governor’s extended stay-at-home order.
“While I would have loved to have more local decision-making authority, autonomy here in the parish or even as a region, I can understand where the governor is coming from.”
The leader of the Hub City said he was initially surprised to see Acadiana among the one-third of medical regions that most contributed to delaying a gradual reopening on May 1st, but when he looked at the data, it made more sense.
As Guillory stated, “Flattening the curve here means we are going to stretch things out a little longer.”
Models show Acadiana is lagging behind New Orleans area trends by about two weeks. New Orlean’s large spike in cases and earlier infection cycle has resulted in a current decrease in cases while Acadiana numbers are still fluctuating.
“The issue in our region is that while overall the numbers are slowly trending down, we do have some variability in those numbers,” explained Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region Four’s medical director.
She said that variability could be from clusters as we’ve seen in nursing homes or people gathering. She wasn’t sure. Either way, federal criteria calls for a declining number of new cases for two weeks in order to proceed with phase one reopening.
“But I know that the people of Acadiana are going to help with us to get through this over the next couple of weeks and reach the governor’s goal of getting to phase one by mid-May,” encouraged Dr. Stefanski.
In the meantime, Guillory said more guidance similar to his safe shop initiative is coming to make the most of these two extra weeks.
“In a way, we’re fortunate that we are able to talk about how we were able to flatten that curve”, remarked Guillory. “We aren’t on the lower end yet of that curve, but our statistics are very optimistic, and it gives me a lot of hope.”
Apart from decreased cases, Dr. Stefanski said the extra two weeks will help increase testing capacity and enhance contact tracing.