Ascension Parish president addresses high per capita coronavirus cases

Ascension Parish residents worried, but determined

GONZALES, La. (WAFB) - Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment released a statement Friday, March 27 to explain the parish’s high rank nationally on positive coronavirus cases.

As of Friday, the parish had 90 cases and one death.

“I truly believe the reason is simply that we are ahead of the curve with testing here in Ascension Parish,” said Cointment. “This is due to the professionalism and organization of our healthcare experts.”

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Cointment pointed out Ascension has taken a proactive approach to testing citizens and noted that conducting more testing results in more patients being found positive for COVID-19.

Cointment added Ascension Parish is a bedroom community, which means most residents have relatives across the state and they visit those family members regularly. There are also lots of people who live in Ascension but work in surrounding parishes.

He urges everyone to follow the guidelines put out by Gov. John Bel Edwards about staying home, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.

Below is the full statement:

I want to address the concerns that Ascension Parish is ranked high in the country for having a large per capita number of positive Coronavirus cases. I truly believe the reason is simply that we are ahead of the curve with testing here in Ascension Parish. This is due to the professionalism and organization of our healthcare experts.

This morning our Administration spent time on phone calls with our medical professionals to help gain insight. I now have a better appreciation for the logic behind the numbers.

Here is the first reason our numbers are higher than other surrounding areas. The fact is that we have taken a proactive approach to testing our citizens. Some of the surrounding communities have yet to implement community testing. If you conduct more tests you will get more positive cases.

Also, our testing was not random. Everyone tested in Ascension Parish was screened by a medical professional prior to being tested. The probability of our citizens testing positive will naturally be higher than other communities where screening measures either did not take place or did not rise to the high level of criteria Ascension uses. Therefore, because each community has different protocol for testing you are not exactly comparing apples to apples.

One other contributing factor is the fact that Ascension Parish is a bedroom community. Most of our residents have family members all over the state that they regularly visit. Being a bedroom community with a robust economy, our community is inherently more mobile, with thousands of people traveling out of the parish to visit family each week, as well as the thousands of people who travel every day into Ascension Parish to work at the many businesses and industries we are fortunate to have here.

In closing, I can’t say enough about our healthcare workers and all essential employees in our region. We are all so concentrated on the positive case numbers that we tend to forget about our fellow residents who are on the front lines helping not only coronavirus patients, but the flu, strep throat, cancers, and heart issues that continue to affect the public every day. How many people are recovering from all these alignments each day? I just don’t want to forget our frontline staff who are warriors and helping to save lives and keep our Parish operational. Please continue to follow the Governor’s guidelines of staying at home, social distancing and washing your hands to help flatten the curve.

I wish for all our residents to stay healthy, stay informed, and may God Bless us all.

Sincerely

Clint Cointment, President of Ascension Parish

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