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Local History

COVID-19 Testing Coming to Northshore Parishes

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Baton Rouge, La – Residents of St. Tammany, Washington, Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes will have more local options for COVID-19 testing. In partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health and local parish governments, Louisiana National Guard will be operating mobile testing sites will make it more convenient for Northshore residents to get a test.

Mobile testing uses trucks and equipment operated by the Louisiana National Guard to bring testing kits to neighborhood locations such as schools, churches, retail stores, parks and other local neighborhood locations.

Dr. Gina Lagarde, the Office of Public Health regional medical director for the five-parish region, said, “This partnership greatly increases testing opportunity for residents, especially in the rural and unincorporated areas of these parishes.”

“Several hospitals and other community testing sites in our region have offered COVID-19 tests that have helped us to understand the prevalence of the coronavirus in our region,” Dr. Lagarde said. “We are now working to increase the number of test sites, to bring the sites closer to where people live, shop and visit during a typical day, and serve those communities that have may have been under served or could not access a central test site.”

Starting Tuesday, May 26, the mobile testing units and Louisiana National Guard testing personnel will visit different sites in St. Tammany, Washington, Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes. Testing will last for four weeks, through June 19, 2020.

Testing Dates and Sites
ST. TAMMANY PARISH WEEK 1 – WEEK 4

Monday 6/1/2020
Mandeville St. Tammany
Community Center 3101 East Causeway Approach

Tuesday 6/2/2020
Mandeville St. Tammany
Community Center 3101 East Causeway Approach

Wednesday 6/3/2020
Mandeville St. Tammany
Church of the Kings 22205 Little Creek Road

Thursday 6/4/2020
Mandeville St. Tammany
Premier Center (Tentative) LA 190 and North Causeway Blvd.

Friday 6/5/2020
LaCombe St. Tammany
Recreation District #461100 N. 12th St.

Monday 6/8/2020
Madisonville St. Tammany
Ball Park 1007 Pine St.

Tuesday 6/8/2020
Madisonville St. Tammany
Ball Park 1007 Pine St.

Wednesday 6/10/2020
Madisonville St. Tammany
Coquille Recreation Center (Tentative) 13505 LA 1085

Thursday 6/11/2020
Folsom St. Tammany
Fendlason Community Center 13296 LA 40

Friday 6/12/2020
Float St. Tammany

Monday 6/15/2020
Covington St. Tammany
Pinnacle Mall (Tentative) 7205 Pinnacle Parkway

Tuesday 6/16/2020
Covington St. Tammany
Planet Fitness (Tentative) 401 N. LA 190

Wednesday 6/17/2020
Covington St. Tammany
Fair Ground1301 N. Columbia St.

Thursday 6/18/2020
Abita Springs St. Tammany
Recreation Center 22517 LA 36

Friday 6/19/2020
Abita Springs St. Tammany
Recreation Center 22517 LA 36

Local News

Gov. Edwards Announces Phase 2 Re-Opening

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Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that following continued improvement in Louisiana’s COVID-19 outlook and a significant increase in testing capacity and contact tracing, Louisiana is ready to move to Phase 2 of the White House’s reopening strategy on June 5.

Gov. Edwards will sign the official order for Phase 2 of a Resilient Louisiana by Thursday evening, with guidance being issued to individual industries and businesses via the OpenSafely.la.gov website throughout the week. In Phase 2, churches, places of worship and many more businesses will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity with social distancing, masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitation. In addition, the state strongly recommends that businesses consider offering temperature checks before a person can enter and posting the symptoms of COVID-19 outside with a request that symptomatic individuals not enter.

The Governor was advised by public health experts that Louisiana has seen decreasing reports of COVID-like illness, decreasing new case counts especially as a percentage of tests administered, and decreasing hospitalizations in almost every area of the state. A few areas of concern still exist, but through contact tracing and frequent testing, the state is able to quickly track increases and work to prevent large outbreaks.

  • Click here to view the data from the Office of Public Health used to make the re-opening decision.

Phase 2 in Louisiana will last at least 21 days. Because more businesses will be open to more patrons and because the CDC has clarified that the illness is most likely to spread through the air and not on surfaces, the order will strongly encourage individuals to wear masks whenever they are in public and will recommend that people who enter businesses that are not taking proper precautions consider the risk to their health and their family in doing so.

“The people of Louisiana have done an incredible job flattening the curve here, and I’m thankful for their compliance and hard work. Likewise, the state has matched their efforts by ramping up both testing and contact tracing. All of this has allowed us to get to a place where we can move into Phase 2 on Friday,” Gov. Edwards said. “However, as more people are out and about and occupancy increases and even more businesses operate, members of the public should be cautious as they enter businesses and leave any place that is not taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19, especially if employees interacting with the public are not wearing masks and customers are not being encouraged to do so as well. We know most business owners want to go above and beyond to make their patrons feel safe. I hope the people of Louisiana will support these businesses that are doing the right thing to protect their customers and employees.”

“In addition, people who are at high risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, including those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, should still Stay at Home unless they are completing essential tasks, such as doctor visits or going to purchase medications, food or other necessary items. Everyone should consider their own risk and the risk of those in their households as they plan their public outings. There are still thousands of active COVID-19 cases in Louisiana and public health experts have increased warnings about asymptomatic people being able to spread the illness unknowingly.”

OVERVIEW OF BUSINESSES THAT CAN OPEN:

Businesses that will be able to open at 50 percent occupancy include:

  • Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
  • Shopping malls (including food courts, following restaurant guidance)
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Barber and beauty shops and nail salons
  • Movie theaters
  • Racetracks (not open to spectators)
  • Museums (including children’s museums), zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
  • Bars and breweries with LDH food permits
  • Massage establishments, spas, and tattoo establishments (under strict guidance from LDH), esthetician services (under strict guidance from the Cosmetology Board)
  • Pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Event Centers and wedding venues
  • Outdoor playgrounds and play centers (children must be accompanied by an adult)

Casinos and video poker establishments may open at 50 percent occupancy, but limited to 75 percent of their gaming positions, with spacing to allow for social distancing and with enhanced sanitation. Plans must be submitted to the Gaming Control Board which will issue guidance to these facilities.

Bars and breweries that do not have LDH food permits will be able to open with strict social distancing requirements and patrons seated at 25 percent occupancy.

Arcades and trampoline parks may open under approved plans by the State Fire Marshal, with minors accompanied by parents.

Summer camps were allowed to open with restrictions in Phase One, and additional guidance will be issued. Sleep-away camps are not allowed in Phase Two.

The following businesses remain closed: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses. Live entertainment is not permitted inside any building or indoor function.

The Governor encourages businesses that can allow employees to work remotely to consider doing so, especially if an employee is at high risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or shares a household with a high risk person.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:                                                

  • Business and faith leaders can visit OpenSafely.la.gov to receive guidance and updates from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Health. Businesses that require approval of reopening plans will be notified by the State Fire Marshal’s Office or the Louisiana Department of Health.
  • For a guide listing businesses that can be open at any given time, visit gov.louisiana.gov/page/can-this-business-open.
  • Members of the public can continue to get information from the Governor’s office by visiting Coronavirus.la.gov and by texting LACOVID to 67283.
  • Members of the public can continue to get information from the Department of Health by visiting ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.
  • People with general questions about COVID-19 in Louisiana can call 211.
Local News

Covington and St. Tammany Parish Information and Resources: April 2020

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Covington Updates & Information

Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020 Mayor Mark has declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This declaration is a proactive effort to position city government to respond as needs related to the virus arise. It enables the city to seek funding and resources for our community as they are made available by Federal and State agencies.
March 25, 2020, President Trump announced approval of major emergency declarations for New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Florida. This allows Louisiana to become eligible for a greater amount of Federal assistance than was previously available.
As Covington continues to monitor the outbreak, city government is taking guidance from Governor John Bel Edwards, who is adhering to recommendations from the Center for Disease Control.
Covington City Hall and Public Works will be closed to the public, and will remain so until further notice. All departments will continue to conduct business via phone and email. Offices can be reached at 985-892-1811, by email, or at covla.com. Public Works can be reached at 985-898-4700.
For further updates, sign up for the Mayor’s email at covla.com “Together, we can flatten the curve.”
Utility Billing Customers:
The City offers Automatic Bank Draft, which requires an authorization form to be submitted with a voided check. The form may be found on the City Website, covla.com under utility billing/forms. This may be mailed to Covington City Hall, 317 N. Jefferson Ave., Covington, LA 70433, or left in the after-hours drop box outside of City Hall.
Utility billing payments may also be processed through your online banking system, the city website, or place in the after-hours drop box (please do not put cash in the drop box).
New utility service permits: Please contact the Utility department at 985-892-1811, or via email at utilitiesbilling@covla.com to arrange new service set up. The City of Covington establishes new account services by appointment only.
Following the guidelines set by the Louisiana State Government in response to the COVID-19 Virus, the City of Covington is announcing the cancellation/ postponement of the following events:
April
4/1-5 – CBA A Taste of Covington – Postponed TBD
4/1 – CBA Monthly Meeting – Canceled
4/2 – Rockin Rails – Rescheduled 1st Thurs in May
4/4 – SPS Annual Alumni Crawfish Boil – Canceled
4/4 – STAA Art Market – Canceled
4/7 – City of Covington Council Meeting – Canceled
4/9 – Rockin Rails – Rescheduled 2nd Thurs in May
4/11 – Egg Rollin’ at the Trailhead – Canceled
4/11 – Kiwanis Health Fair – Postponed Date TBD
4/11 – STAA Spring For Art – Canceled
4/18 – Covington Rock the Block – Canceled
4/18 – Covington Cares About West 30’s – Canceled
Youth Service Bureau has suspended all services
City of Covington Recycling Suspended, One Day Per Week for Waste Collection Service:
Beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2020, all waste will be picked up on Wednesdays Only. Recycling services are suspended until further notice.
Coastal Environmental Services will be posting updates to their website and Facebook page as often as necessary. Customers can also reach them by phone at 985-781-3171 or email: info@ces-la.com
Stay At Home Order (Til May 15th):

  1. Stay Home
  2. Only go out for essential services
  3. Stay six feet or more away from others
  4. Don’t gather in groups
    Be Responsible and Act Conscientiously
    Recycling Suspended, Waste Pick Up Wednesdays
    City of Covington Recycling Suspended, One Day Per Week for Waste Service:
    Due to both a decrease in manpower and as a precaution for drivers and hoppers (the men on the back of the trucks), Thursday (March 26th) will be the last for recycling until further notice, waste is picked up as usual this week.
    Beginning next week, waste will be picked up on Wednesdays Only. Next week there will be one and only one pickup day: April 1st. (No Fooling).
    When recycling returns, it will be picked up on Thursdays. Waste will continue to be taken on Wednesdays. Originally, changing the whole city to Wednesdays Only was scheduled for mid April. The idea was that the City of Covington would have plenty of time to notify residents by placing the information on the water bill; that change is on the current water bill, and now it’s wrong.
    With the suspension of recycling, it made sense to make the change effective Wednesday, April 1st.
    FAQ: You may use your recycle bin for waste, recycling is suspended indefinitely. Please bag your green waste or place in your cans when possible.
    Coastal Environmental Services will be posting updates to their website and Facebook page as often as necessary. Customers can also reach them at 985-781-3171 or email at info@ces-la.com.
    Statewide Burn Ban Issued For Louisiana
    Statewide Burn Ban Issued During Public Health Emergency – Baton Rouge – State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, in collaboration with Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, have issued a statewide cease and desist order for all private burning, pursuant to authority under R.S. 40:1602. Private burning shall only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government. This order is effective as of 8 a.m. March 25, 2020 and shall remain in effect until rescinded.
    The containment method of the fire is not the exception, but rather the use is; barbeque pits, fire pits and small campfires are permitted during the burn ban when used for brief, recreational purposes. Placing brush materials into a fire pit to burn away for extended periods of time is not permitted.
    This ban shall not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law (R.S. 3:3601 et seq.).
    Violation of this Fire Marshal order could result in criminal and/or civil penalties.
    St. Tammany Parish Government hosts a Hazard Mitigation Plan Virtual Public Meeting on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 2PM. Check their website (stpgov.org) and/or fb page for instructions on how to access the meeting.
    CPD Announces tip411, Department Updates
    The Covington Police Department is increasing its crime-fighting arsenal with a new app to help residents connect with the department to find information, view alerts and submit anonymous tips from their smartphone. Developed by tip411, the Covington PD app puts a powerful new crime-fighting tool into the hands of community members of all ages. The Covington PD app is available for download for free via the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
    “Police services are not limited to 911 emergencies. In addition to providing for the public safety, the Covington Police Department works proactively in our community to prevent crime,” said Covington Police Chief Stephen Culotta. “We believe the new Covington PD app from tip411 will help greatly enhance our ability to fight crime by engaging our community.”
    The new Covington PD app enables the public to share an anonymous tip with police, allowing officers to respond back, creating an anonymous two-way conversation. Citizens can also submit videos and photographs with their tips.
    “We’ve listened to feedback from partners like Covington Police and have built a more advanced and innovative product to help departments better engage their communities,” said tip411 President Terry Halsch.
    “The Covington PD app powered by tip411 will greatly improve the public’s access to agency alerts, social media channels, important information to help fight crime.”
    The Covington PD app and tip411 anonymous text a tip system are 100% anonymous, as the technology removes all identifying information before police see the tips and there is no way to identify the sender.
    Those without a smartphone will still be able to share information with police by sending an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to police by texting keyword CPDLA and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411).
    Covington Police Department COVID-19 Update:
    In light of the concerns over the COVID 19 outbreak, the men and women of the Covington Police Department would like to reassure our citizens that we are here, and will continue to protect and serve. However, a few modifications must be made:
  5. The Covington Police Department Admin building will be closed to the public.
  6. Walk in ticket payments will not be accepted. Tickets can be paid online at myfinepayment.com or mailed to the following address: Covington Police Department, 609 N. Columbia Street, Covington, LA 70433 Do Not Send Cash Through The Mail
  7. If you wish to obtain a copy of an accident report, you can go to policereports.us
  8. The Records Division will be closed. If you wish to obtain a copy of an incident report, please email policerecords@covla.com with your request. For the next 30 days, we will be waiving all fees associated with obtaining an incident report. Incident reports will be sent electronically.
  9. Property and Evidence pickup will be suspended until further notice.
  10. Covington City Court on March 30, 2020, at 3 p.m. will be canceled. Those who were required to appear will be issued the new court date of May 18, 2020, at 3 p.m.
  11. If a call for service does not require an officer to citizen contact, we will be handling these type calls over the phone. All emergency calls will be handled as normal. We want to stress to the public that if they are symptomatic, to relay this information to dispatch so that the appropriate precautions can be taken.
    If you have an Emergency, call 911 or call Dispatch at 985-898-2340 for Non-Emergencies.
    CPD is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    COVID-19 Updates & Resources
    St. Tammany Parish Government has up to the minute COVID-19 information on Access St. Tammany STPG-TV. Watch on Charter at Channel 710, or Channel 99, menu item Access St. Tammany, on AT&T U-Verse. Also viewable at stpgov.org.
    St. Tammany Parish Public School System TV Remote Learning Resource videos will be aired each day at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. And 5 p.m. On AT&T U-Verse Ch. 99, Charter Ch. 198, and on Roku. An hour of engaging educational lessons taught by our STPPS teachers will help review, refresh and reinforce student learning.
    St. Tammany Parish Public School System announces that the weekly option for meals begins today (Wednesday, April 1st). This allows families to pick up five shelf-stable lunches and breakfasts for each child once a week on Wednesdays at Fontainebleau High, Pearl River High, Salmen High, Pitcher Junior High and Slidell Junior High from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Daily pick up of hot lunch and breakfast is also available every weekday at Covington High and Slidell High. More info: stpsb.org/coronavirus
    Message From STPG:
    “We want to thank every person who is adhering to the Governor’s Stay At Home order. We are aware of people in large groups on our scenic waterways not adhering to the Governor’s Stay At Home orders, and choosing to ignore medical experts, and leaders who continue to stress the essential importance of social distancing. We, along with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office are working together to keep all our citizens safe, and are working to address each situation on a case by case basis. We will continue to do this as long as we need to do it.
    Our primary goal is working together to keep all of our citizens safe. We are urging residents to each do their part, and comply so that resources are not wasted to remind citizens to do something they should already be doing. This is disappointing, as we have been asking for weeks for each person to exercise personal responsibility.
    Those who choose large gatherings over social distancing could be unnecessarily undermining the health and wellness of themselves, as well as others who live in our community. The sooner we change our mindset and the behavior that can spread COVID-19, the sooner we will return to normalcy. Thank you.” STPG
    St. Tammany Parish Government Announces the Closure of Parish Parks, Playgrounds and the Tammany Trace:
    St. Tammany Parish has closed the parks, playgrounds and the Tammany Trace. Please know that should citizens choose to use the Trace for the next couple of weeks, there will be no presence of rangers for your security or to provide assistance to you, if needed. Additionally, the drawbridge near Lacombe remains in the upright position to accommodate boat traffic per the Coast Guard. We encourage residents to continue to get outside and get exercise in and around your neighborhoods. Your patience and understanding at this time as we deal with this public health crisis is greatly appreciated. Thank you.” STPG
    Resources for Businesses
    COVID-19 Small Business Resources:
    If COVID-19 is affecting your St. Tammany Parish Hotel, Bed & Breakfast, Restaurant or other Tourism-related Small Business, Louisiana Northshore would like to hear from you. We want to hear your experiences so we can share your voice with our legislators. Email the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission at support@louisiananorthshore.com.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
    For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
    Small Business Owners: The experience ratings have been temporarily suspended for unemployment insurance.
    For those unaware, when someone files for unemployment and is approved, their former employer normally sees a bump in experience rating, which in turn raises their cost of unemployment insurance. So this is good noes for employees and employers.
    Employees Affected:
    The one week waiting period to apply for benefits has been waived as well. Please share this so others are aware and don’t have reservations about utilizing our unemployment system. Learn more at laworks.net.
    Word and Quote of the Week
    collectively – as a group; as a whole
    “A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of the individual. If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone.”
  • C.G. Jung, “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious”
    The New Moon is Thursday, April 23, 2020.
    Covington Retail & Services
    Goodbee Plumbing – Goodbee Plumbing would like the public to know that they are open for business to address any plumbing needs you may have. Goodbee Plumbing is taking all precautions, sanitizing between jobs and wearing protective shoe booties.
    The health of our customers and our employees is our top priority. To eliminate close contact, we are taking phone payments and emailing invoices on site. Thank you, Goodbee Plumbing.
    Jewel’s Cigar & Briar is now open with limited hours and social distancing measures in place. 201 N. New Hampshire St. 985-892-5746
    St. Tammany Health System Update
    St. Tammany Health System is providing care to all patients requiring hospitalization and is not near capacity. The System has the space, the technology, the materials and the personnel to properly care for all patients (COVID or otherwise).
    The Hospital has instituted an outdoor triage to meet Louisiana Department of health and CDC expectations. Outdoor triage helps decrease the number of individuals entering and leaving the hospital building itself.
    If you or a friend want to confirm symptoms or have concerns, there are options: You can call 985-898-4001 to schedule a Virtual Visit with a St. Tammany Health System provider. Second, their partner Ochsner has a 24-hour nurse on call at 866-230-1977. You can talk through symptoms right on the phone.
    From the Hospital: “Overall total hospital census today (April 1) is 120 (bed license is 232), with 13 COVID- positive and 17 COVID- tests pending, all in proper isolation. STHS teams continue and negative pressure spaces for safe care of our patients.” via City of Covington
    It’s Time for Spring Cleaning! Pressure Washing (Downtown Covington Only) 985-288-9609
Featured Posts General Local News

COVID-19: City Events Cancelled, parish Advice

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Out of an abundance of caution over Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) concerns, City of Covington leaders together with event organizers have announced the cancellation of weekend events. These events include the Covington Celtic Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Block party (Saturday, March 14, 2020), the YSB Chef Soiree (Sunday, March 15, 2020) and the St. Joseph Abbey Monk Run (Saturday, March 14). The Covington Farmer’s Market will remain open this Saturday.
“Covington Celtic Club’s St. Patrick’s Parade set for Saturday, March 14th at 12 pm has unfortunately been cancelled. However, the block party portion of the event will be postponed for a later date. We are grateful for all of our vendors, sponsors and participants and look forward to celebrating in a even larger capacity at Covington’s Celtic Celebration at the corner of Rutland and New Hampshire at t nearby date! We are as disappointed as you are, and ask for your understanding in the matter as many months of hard work and money have been put into these events and these are not decisions we make lightly. We hope to have you attend our parade and celebration next your on Saturday, March 13, 2021,” Cody Ludwig, Covington Celtic Club.
Important* Many of the local businesses in downtown Covington will continue to need your support during this time, so please remember to Shop, Eat, and Enjoy Local.

Parish Government Advice on COVID-19

With regard to COVID-19, St. Tammany Parish Government encourages people to follow the advice put forth by health experts:
Cover your cough. Stay home if you are sick.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who are sick.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Visit stpgov.org for additional information. – Thank you
Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President