Livingston Parish’s COVID-19 positivity rate continues upward trend; 14.60 percent in latest report

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Julia Meole pours a frozen margarita during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at Casa Maria in Watson on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.
David Gray | The News

(The Livingston Parish News) – Under the state’s COVID-19 regulations, Livingston Parish bars won’t be allowed to reopen for at least another two weeks.

In the Louisiana Department of Health’s latest report, Livingston Parish’s positivity rate came in at 14.60 percent, nearly three times the rate set for parishes to allow more traditional barroom service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Livingston Parish continues to trend above the state average in positivity rate, with the most recent report nearly twice as high as the state’s 7.50 percent rate.

The latest reporting period, which tracked the parish’s percentage of positive COVID-19 tests from Nov. 5-11, marked the second straight week-to-week increase, according to the Department of Health’s figures.

The rate of positivity was 10.40 percent from Oct. 29 – Nov. 4, which came after three straight weeks of decreasing rates, according to LDH figures.

In September, Gov. John Bel Edwards amended his COVID-19 emergency orders to allow bars in parishes with low positivity rates to offer on-site consumption. Bars had mostly been regulated to curbside service since the COVID-19 outbreak began in March.

To be eligible, parishes must have a positivity rate of 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks. Once the gating criteria is met, parish officials have to “opt in” to allow bars to offer on-site consumption.

Even if reopened to the public, bars continue to face harsher restrictions than other businesses, with health officials citing the number of outbreaks connected to that setting. In the LDH latest report, bars were responsible for 47 outbreaks that led to 505 cases.

When open for on-premises consumption, bars can only offer table-side service, must limit capacity to 25 percent, must maintain social distancing measures, and cannot serve alcohol after 11 p.m.

If a parish’s percent positivity reaches 10 percent for two straight weeks, that parish’s bars must return to offering only curbside service.

Edwards later modified his order to allow 50 percent capacity at outdoor sporting events in parishes that meet the same 5-percent positivity threshold without an “opt in.”

Based on the gating criteria, the earliest Livingston Parish could move toward loosening restrictions for bars and sporting events would be after Dec. 2.

Below are the five most recent positivity reporting periods for Livingston Parish and the state.

Oct. 8-14 — Livingston Parish, 9.50 percent, Louisiana, 4.70 percent

Oct. 15-21 — Livingston Parish, 8.30 percent, Louisiana 4.60 percent

Oct. 22-28 — Livingston Parish, 7.60 percent, Louisiana 4.70 percent

Oct. 29 – Nov. 4 — Livingston Parish, 10.40 percent, Louisiana 5.30 percent

Nov. 5-11 — Livingston Parish, 14.60 percent; Louisiana, 7.50 percent

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