Residents near Lake Bistineau react to state park becoming a staging area

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – People who live near Lake Bistineau are expressing their concerns about Lake Bistineau State Park being used for people who have COVID-19 to stay.

Officials announced Wednesday that Bistineau and Chicot State Park near Ville Platte will be used to house and isolate people who have symptoms of the coronavirus and are awaiting tests, but can’t go home if it would risk exposing others who are vulnerable to serious illness if they get infected.

Those who test positive would be sent to the hospital.

“It’s a mile away, but like I tell you. As scary as it is for us, it got to be ten times scary for them, so I look at it from both sides,” said Doyline Bill Clark.

“A little bit suspicious, I don’t feel totally against it because people need help, you know. We would just like to have to a little bit more understanding about who exactly it is coming in and what their end results are going to be for as all this is concerned,” said Doyline resident Melvin Fletcher.

“Unfortunately, we understand that this is going to impact our visitors with plans to visit Chicot State Park and Lake Bistineau State Park,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, whose office oversees Louisiana State Parks. “But I would like to repeat – the greater mission right now is to do everything possible to get this situation under control so we can all resume normal operations. These are two of our most beautiful parks, and we will thoroughly clean them before reopening for the enjoyment of our visitors. Louisianans have always come together in a time of need and I’m sure we can get through this together.”

Those moved to the staging areas will be housed in one of the eight cabins at the park, which officials say will be thoroughly cleaned before it is reopened to the public.

All other Louisiana State Parks are open and operating normally at this time.

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