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Parish News

Parish President Mike Cooper Reflects on the One-Year Anniversary of COVID-19 Impacting St. Tammany

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From St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper:

“One year ago, St. Tammany, like much of the rest of the world, was faced with the reality of COVID-19. We came together as community and faced the uncertainty of a novel virus, loss of lives to this disease, and sacrifices we all had to make in order to protect the most vulnerable among us, as well as our frontline healthcare professionals. We did this to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy,” said Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President.

President Cooper went on to say, “I am thankful and proud of the way we worked together and I am proud of where we now stand. Let’s continue to move forward by making individual choices to protect one another, and by utilizing the vaccine to protect ourselves as we mourn the lives of those we lost to this disease, celebrate those who have recovered, and thank the people who lovingly cared for them all.”

Watch the March 13, 2020 Press Conference

Local News Parish News

STHS Vaccine Clinics Expanding Eligibility to Match State Changes

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From St. Tammany Health System: Governor opens COVID vaccination to 16+ with qualifying conditions

Adhering to Louisiana Department of Public Health guidelines, St. Tammany Health System expanded eligibility for COVID vaccination to include residents as young as 16 who have at least one qualifying condition.

Those working in “congregant settings” – such as prisons and group homes – are also now eligible, and all previously eligible groups remain so.

Qualified individuals can schedule vaccine appointments through St. Tammany Health System MyChart or 985-898-4001, which is answered 24/7. Those encountering high call volume may have more success by calling at off peak times such as evenings.

See below for the state’s new, expanded vaccine eligibility. All of those receiving the vaccine because of complicating medical factors must sign a form attesting that they meet guidelines. Only the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for patients under 18.

Eligibility by age or condition

  • People 65 and older
  • Dialysis providers and patients
  • Pregnant people
  • People with certain medical conditions
  • People 18-64 (or 16+ for Pfizer vaccine only) with at least one of the conditions listed below by the CDC.

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  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30kg/m2 or higher
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Current of former smoker
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Severe neurologic conditions such as dementia
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Eligibility by workforce category

  • Ambulatory and outpatient providers and staff
  • Dialysis providers
  • Behavioral health providers and staff
  • Urgent care clinic providers and staff
  • Community care providers and staff
  • Dental providers and staff
  • Non-emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) providers and staff
  • Professional home care providers (including hospice workers) and home care recipients (including older and younger people with disabilities over the age of 16 who receive community or home-based care, as well as clients of home health agencies)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) and foreign language interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSPs) working in community and clinic-based settings, and clients who are both deaf and blind
  • Health-related support personnel (lab staff, mortuary staff who have contact with corpses, pharmacy staff)
  • Schools of allied health students, residents and staff
  • Law enforcement and other first responders
  • Louisiana Unified Command Group
  • State Legislators
  • State and local essential COVID emergency response personnel
  • Some elections staff ahead of March and April elections
  • Teachers and any other support staff working on site in K-12 or daycare
In Louisiana as of March 1st, 2021 from the Governor’s Office

The heartbeat of its community, St. Tammany Health System cares for patients and families with excellence, compassion and teamwork. It is recognized for quality, safety and service excellence by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 and Ochsner Health work together in partnership to improve the community’s health and quality of life. Together, west St. Tammany’s top two independent health leaders represent the most complete system of care, aligning behind the common goals of improving access, expanding specialty care and making care affordable. Under their agreement, each retains its autonomy; neither manages nor owns the other. Self-supporting, not-for-profit STHS is A+ rated by Fitch and receives no tax funding. More at StTammany.health

Non Profit Spotlight

Northshore Food Bank Shares Impacts from 2020 Pandemic

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Last week, Northshore Food Bank shared some of the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on the organization and the community. The Food Bank also opened a new, expanded Resale Shop last year, a place to sell donated housewares, clothing and other items with proceeds benefiting the Food Bank. A survey aimed to gather feedback from the public on the new Resale Shop can be found here. The survey can be taken even if you have not visited the shop yet!

From Northshore Food Bank:

2020 was an unprecedented year in so many ways. This week we will share some of the numbers that demonstrate not only the increased need for food on the Northshore, but also how our community has supported us to ensure families in need are fed.

  • At the beginning of the pandemic, we recognized the need for additional food for kids when the schools closed early. Emergency kid packs were distributed from March until school started again in the fall, and again over the winter holiday break.
  • Through our Community Cupboard we have expanded our reach, providing food assistance to households that cannot come to us.
  • For the first time ever, we distributed enough food to provide over 1 Million Meals in one year.
  • By the end of September, we had already reached the one million pounds benchmark; this is a volume we might typically reach by the end of the year or fall just under it.

Did you know that by shopping and donating to our Resale Shop that you help feed families on the Northshore? All net proceeds directly go to operating the food bank.

We would love your thoughts on our Resale Shop. Your input could help feed even more families on the Northshore. Take our brief survey: http://bit.ly/3b8PqT7

Learn more at northshorefoodbank.org

Read more:
Local News Parish News

First Vaccines Administered at St. Tammany Health System

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From St. Tammany Health System:

COVID Team Receives First Access to Revolutionary New Immunization

The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived on the Northshore. As part of federal deployment of the groundbreaking Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, St. Tammany Health System began administering vaccine this morning.

STHS infectious disease specialist Dr. Mike Hill became the health system’s first staff member to receive the vaccine at 10 a.m.

A string of Hill’s frontline colleagues followed, including Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Torcson and about 50 other doctors, nurses and environmental services workers. Another 70 or so were scheduled to receive the first of the two-shot vaccine Thursday, with the second dose to follow in 19 to 21 days. Vaccinations will continue daily as STHS receives vaccine from Louisiana Department of Health.

“This is a big day at St. Tammany Health System,” Hill said moments after receiving his vaccine, delivered via injection to his left arm. “It’s been a long time coming and represents a lot of hard work by everybody involved. We’re very excited to have our employees – the people who are taking care of our patients – getting the first vaccines on the way to being protected against COVID-19.”

He added: “This is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”

Drs. Hill and Torcson both said it was important for them to be among the first in line to roll up their sleeves as a demonstration of their confidence in the vaccine, which was developed with unprecedented speed as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. That speed has prompted some in the public to question the safety of the vaccine, but experts insist the science behind its development is sound and that concerns to the contrary are entirely unfounded.

“This is a perfectly safe vaccine,” Torcson said after receiving his shot. “It really is going to make a significant contribution to ending this pandemic that has really been so devastating worldwide, and certainly in our community here in western St. Tammany Parish. The scientific input and clinical collaboration that went into the development of this vaccine is really unquestionable. This is a safe intervention that’s going to bring this pandemic to an end.”

As production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ramps up, and as other COVID vaccines hit the market, healthcare workers, residents of retirement homes, first responders and others deemed high-risk will be among those first in line to receive it. Widespread availability to the public is expected this spring, perhaps as early as February.

Even with the deployment of the vaccine, however, Dr. Hill stressed the continued need for social distancing, mask wearing and good hand hygiene, even for those who have been vaccinated. That’s primarily because it’s unclear how long it will protect those who receive it. Also unclear is whether those who have been vaccinated, even if they show no symptoms, are still able to transmit the virus to others.

Wednesday’s historic vaccine delivery comes almost nine months to the day of the arrival of St. Tammany’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient in mid-March. It also comes two days after the first U.S. patients received the vaccine as part of the ongoing federal rollout.

The heartbeat of its community, St. Tammany Health System cares for patients and families with excellence, compassion and teamwork. It is recognized for quality, safety and service excellence by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 and Ochsner Health work together in partnership to improve the community’s health and quality of life. Together, west St. Tammany’s top two independent health leaders represent the most complete system of care, aligning behind the common goals of improving access, expanding specialty care and making care affordable. Under their agreement, each retains its autonomy; neither manages nor owns the other. Self-supporting, not-for-profit STHS is A+ rated by Fitch and receives no tax funding. More at stph.org.

Local News Parish News

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Announces Decision on 2021 Mardi Gras Parades

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announced today that 2021 Mardi Gras Parades will not roll in St. Tammany. The decision was finalized early Thursday, after consultation with Dr. Charles Preston, St. Tammany Parish Coroner, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith, local fire districts, local police departments and a consensus of local mayors.

“This decision was made after much discussion and thoughtful deliberation. We have taken in to consideration the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and the fact that we remain in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with numbers continuing to rise,” Cooper said. “We want to discourage any event that will draw large crowds and possibly endanger the health of our citizens or possibly put our first responders at risk. I want to thank every leader within our Parish who participated in this conversation. I will continue to do what is right to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy.”

Cooper hosted two conference calls with the above-mentioned parties on separate occasions to discuss the 2021 Mardi Gras season.

Local News Parish News

A Message From the Parish President: COVID Update

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from St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper at STPgov.org:

Good Afternoon,

I want to wish all of you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. As I said in my statement early last week, we know these holidays are going to be different due to COVID-19. Based on the Governor’s announcement yesterday of a move to a modified Phase 2, we now have some idea of just how different.

The State of Louisiana is facing an increase that, if not addressed, could lead to further increases and strains on our hospitals. We are back to flattening another curve. St. Tammany Parish’s Percent Positivity Rate is above five percent for the last two reported weeks. For the week of 11/5- 11/11 we stand at 6.20 % and for the week of 11/12- 11/18, reported today, we stand at 8.10%. With this information in-hand, it is evident that in addition to asking citizens to wear their masks, physically distance, and avoid large gatherings with people from outside their own households, we can add that we should avoid the scheduling of public events and festivities that will draw large numbers of people. Hopefully by discouraging such events we will see a stabilization of our numbers.

The Governor has provided a synopsis of the major changes to Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions here. In addition, the St. Tammany Economic Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Council has updated our Live Safe. Work Safe. Shop Safe. Action Plan to reflect these changes. You may view it here.

I again want to thank Dr. Charles Preston for joining me to provide a video message urging best preventative practices during the holiday season. You may see and share both messages here: President Cooper PSA , Dr. Preston PSA .

I continue to work to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy, and I ask each and every one of you to join me in appealing to every single citizen to continue to work to achieve this balance by taking the steps necessary to slow the spread of this virus. It is imperative that we take personal responsibility to protect ourselves, one another, and most importantly — the most vulnerable among us.

Should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving!

Parish News

‘Holiday of Lights’ Drive-Thru at Koop Drive Starts Dec 4

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from Louisiana Northshore:

from Louisiana Northshore

The annual Holiday of Lights in Mandeville returns for its 21st year on weekends beginning December 4, 2020. Typically featuring entertainment from local schools and area performance groups, a modified version of the 21st Annual Holiday of Lights will go forward this Christmas season as a drive-thru only event.

“We are all ready for something positive,” said St Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “What could be more positive than keeping this tradition alive even through COVID-19? While we know the experience will be slightly different, we will still have the experience, and that is the most important thing for us — to give our citizens the Holiday of Lights event in 2020.”

from stpgov.org

The Holiday of Lights display will be open on Koop Drive in Mandeville, as a drive-thru only sightseeing event, Fridays through Sundays from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in December, as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Dates and drive-thru procedures will be announced closer to the kick-off of the event.

For more information, call the Tammany Trace Trailhead at (985) 867-9490.

www.stpgov.org

Local News Parish News

COVID Update – Statement from St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper (11/16/2020): “I want to wish every citizen of St. Tammany a safe and happy Thanksgiving. We know these holidays are going to be different due to COVID-19. Each one of us can play a part in helping to protect the most vulnerable among us through personal responsibility. We can do this with a few simple steps. Please keep COVID-19 protective measures in mind when planning your holiday.

“When you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, please continue to wear masks, physically distance, avoid large gatherings — especially gatherings with people you have not been in contact with recently. If you are out in the community wear a mask — especially when inside local businesses and restaurants. As I have said in the past, there are several ways to support our local restaurants and small businesses. Shopping with them is one and helping them to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask when you are inside their establishments is another.

“I continue to work to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy, and I ask each and every citizen to continue to work with me to achieve this balance. By protecting ourselves and one other, we can all contribute to our recovery. Please take personal responsibility as we enter into the holidays. Have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving.”

www.stpgov.org

Increase in COVID Cases Seen Locally and Nationally – St. Tammany Health System

COVID UPDATE FOR NEIGHBORS from St. Tammany Parish Health System—11/16/2020

sths

All local residents should renew awareness and focus on containing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Today at St. Tammany Health System, 17 patients are in COVID care, an increase from 9 one week ago today. Our inpatient census is 131, and we have discharged 492 patients from COVID care since the pandemic began.

The nation surpassed 10 million cases last week and hit 11 million this week. Our local community is experiencing a spike as well with 8,931 cases to date in St. Tammany Parish according to Louisiana Department of Health. Halloween is believed to have sparked a significant increase in community spread, and Thanksgiving is seen as a potential next wave of exposure.

All residents are reminded as we head into winter, people spend more time indoors, increasing the risk of exposure to colds, flu and viruses, including COVID-19. STHS recommends everyone wear a mask, follow proper handwashing and cough etiquette and maintain your distance from others, particularly when you don’t feel well. It’s also important to protect yourself from the flu with a flu shot, which you can access through STHS Express Care and all STPN primary care clinics.

As part of our commitment to help you take excellent care of yourself, St. Tammany Health System has launched Health Check 365, including a special event at STHS Cordes Pavilion, 16300 Hwy 1085, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. For a single fee, participants receive a spectrum of health screenings including biometrics, carotid artery, sleep apnea, body composition plus screens for lung, skin, head and neck cancer. Appointments are necessary by calling 985-871-5932.

st. tammany health system
Art Event Parish News

14th Annual President’s Arts Awards Slated for November 19th – St. Tammany Parish Government

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stp news

From St. Tammany Parish Government:

stp news

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announced last week that the 14th Annual President’s Arts Awards recipients will be honored at the President’s Arts Awards presented by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs, Thursday, November 19, 2020, at an outdoor ceremony at the Koop Drive Trailhead Pavilion. Attendance will be limited to recipients and their families as COVID-19 protective protocol will be in place.

“We are happy to be able to host this event at the Koop Drive Trailhead. I want to thank the Commission for their hard work and their attention to every detail in keeping safety in mind in planning this event, for the honorees,” Cooper said. “The arts are a vital part of our community. I look forward to celebrating my first Arts Awards as Parish President and recognizing the wealth of artistic talent here in St. Tammany. I offer sincere congratulations to every recipient.”

The honorees are as follows:

Visual Artist – Gretchen Armbruster
Literary Artist – Mike Artell
Culinary Artist – Abita Brewing Company
Performing Artist – Mel Rogers
Musical Artist – Lee Hicks
Patron of the Arts – Painting with a Twist
President’s Award (Posthumously) – Gardner Schneider Kole
Native Son Award – Lesslee Fitzmorris Mitchell
Lifetime Achievement – Patricia “Pat” Clanton
Outstanding Service Award – Kim Bergeron

Congratulations!

Local Events Non Profit Spotlight

Local Beer & Bites Crawl Supports Covington Boys & Girls Club – Tickets SOLD OUT

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boys and girls club
boys and girls club

Like many nonprofit organizations in the greater New Orleans area, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana and the youth they serve have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. Our community continues to face unprecedented times, but your support can help kids that need critical support.

The Covington Boys & Girls Club has made several adjustments to adapt to changes since COVID, including wellness checks, free meals and virtual learning classes. With the help of various donors, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana have provided financial relief to families in need.
The Covington Boys & Girls Club is back open for afterschool programming, seeing about 22 children a day. They provide free meals for all Club members, both a snack and dinner, averaging about 220 meals per week. They are also still offering free meals to anyone experiencing food insecurity in the Covington area, whether they are involved in the Club or not.

This Wednesday, supporting the Boys & Girls Club of Covington is as easy as strolling around downtown Covington, tasting beer and eating bites. It’s the 4th Annual Oxtober Fest event with a twist – a Beer & Bites Stroll starting at the Covington Trailhead and meandering through the many participating local restaurants. The event benefits the Covington Boys & Girls Club.

Tickets are SOLD OUT for the inaugural Beer & Bites Stroll! If you didn’t get a chance to get them, you can still donate to the Covington Boys & Girls Club or learn how you can volunteer here.

Mayor Mark has this to say about the Boys & Girls Club:

“As we know, not all families in our community are able to offer strong parenting. Some children do not receive the structure, the values nor the attention that most of us did as youngsters. At or around the age of 9, 10 or 11, some of these children begin to receive more attention from the streets than from their family. By the age of 13, the bad guys have become their family. This is a bad thing.
“Here in Covington, we are blessed with a strong and active Boys and Girls Club. Our school buses drop students off directly from school. A snack, a safe place and some help with homework helps fill a gap. The Club becomes their family. This is a good thing.
“Sometimes supporting the community is as simple as buying the ticket, eating the eats and drinking the drinks. This Wednesday is one of those times.”

Local Events Local News

Covington Comprehensive Plan 2030 – Several Meetings for Public Input

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The Covington Comprehensive Plan 2030 is back after taking a meeting hiatus due to COVID. The workshop last Saturday was the first in several public meetings to collect input.

From CovingtonPlan2030.com:

About the Plan

The Comprehensive Plan Update project will include an assessment and revision to the City’s existing 2007 Comprehensive Plan. It will ensure consistency with the City’s evolving vision and assist the City in developing a more resilient place – one in which environmental, social, and economic resilience are inextricably connected and interdependent. The City established a Steering Committee that will assist the planning team and guide the project progress.

Event Schedule

COVID-19 Statement: The novel COVID-19 pandemic caused an unexpected impact on the comprehensive plan update project. For the safety of all residents, meetings were postponed following the outbreak in early 2020. Meetings resumed on 10/14 under Phase III reopening procedures. Meeting registration is not required, but venue attendance will be limited to 45 persons at the City Council Chambers and 75 persons at the Bogue Falaya Hall. All meetings will be recorded and posted to this website. Any meeting feedback, input, or questions are welcomed at info@covingtonplan2030.com

Planning Commission and Public Meeting

Monday, November 16, 2020
6:30 PM 7:30 PM
City Council Chambers

Meeting purpose:

  • Formal introduction to the planning team and review of the project status to date

Steering Committee and Public Meeting (Two Opportunities)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
5:00 PM 6:15 PM
City Council Chambers

Meeting Note:

  • The meeting will be held at 5:00 pm and again at 6:30.

Meeting Purpose:

  • Outcomes from the City Council and Planning Commission meetings
  • Draft document distribution

City Council Meeting

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
6:00 PM 7:00 PM
City Council Chambers

Meeting purpose:

  • Project status update during the regular Council meeting

Planning Commission and Public Meeting

Monday, January 11, 2021
6:30 PM 7:30 PM
City Council Chambers (map)

Meeting purpose:

  • Comprehensive planning workshop

Planning Commission and Public Meeting

Monday, February 8, 2021
6:30 PM 7:30 PM
City Council Chambers

Meeting purpose:

  • Public hearing/plan adoption

Plan 2030 Vision

Photo of Lee Lane in downtown Covington from www.covingtonplan2030.com

In 2030 Covington remains a charming city with a proud history. Those who live in Covington stay for the sense of community and accessibility to regional amenities. Covington is a healthy environment with beloved parks, waterways, and walkable and bikeable routes for commuting and recreational use. It is resilient to hazards and preserves its historic integrity. The familiar arts and music events remain highly anticipated. The city provides opportunities for small businesses and regional services to grow, allowing investment to remain at home and redevelopment to flourish. Housing is available for residents of all abilities and in all stages of life. Infrastructure is ample to match the growing population and the city’s expansion. Covington residents, landowners, and business owners continue to work together to realize and evolve the values and goals of the comprehensive plan to continue the city’s legacy. 

Plan Structure

The planning process includes evaluating current and related plans; guiding the City in updating its vision, goals, and policies; and recommending improvements to key public investments, community facilities, and capital projects.

The comprehensive plan will cover the following elements:

  • Land Use
  • Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Community Character and Urban Design
  • Historical Preservation
  • Housing and Neighborhoods
  • Economic Development
  • Environmental Quality, Sustainability, and Hazard Mitigation
  • Parks, Recreation, and Open Space
  • Placemaking, Art, and Culture
  • Healthy Communities
  • Key Public Investments, Community Facilities, and Capital Improvements

Learn more at www.covingtonplan2030.com

Local News

Statement From St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper on Moving to Phase 3

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Statement from St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper:

“Moving to Phase 3 is the right thing to do for us at this time, and we appreciate the Governor’s decision. I want to thank him for his for his continued leadership and his consideration of my formal request, as well as the resolutions put forth by the St. Tammany Parish Council and the St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, requesting the ability to move forward. I have faith in our citizens that we will continue to take personal responsibility to do what is necessary to slow the spread and simultaneously support our local businesses. As I have said from the start of our emergency response to this pandemic, I want to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy,” Cooper said.

“We, as a community, have risen to the call, to take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of our citizens — especially the most vulnerable. We want to begin to resume a sense of normalcy, and to strike the balance for the health of our economy.”

Visit www.stpgov.org for updates.

Local News

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Offers Support for Regional Recovery Phases

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper has penned a personal letter to Governor John Bel Edwards asking him to consider regional implementation of COVID-19 recovery phases, in lieu of the current statewide implementation model. In addition, Cooper’s letter asks that the Governor make the criteria for any Parish to enter Phase 3 available to Parish leaders state-wide so that each region can base their decisions on phased re-openings using these criteria. This letter supports similar appeals to the Governor by the St. Tammany Parish Council as well as the St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce.

“As I have said from the start of our emergency response to this pandemic, I want to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy. St. Tammany has risen to the call, as a community, to take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of our citizens — especially the most vulnerable. We want to use this momentum to move into the next phase, to increase capacity in our small businesses and our restaurants, while keeping precautions in place so that our economy can begin to robustly recover. I have faith in our citizens that we will continue to take personal responsibility to do what is necessary to slow the spread and simultaneously support our local businesses. We want to begin to resume a sense of normalcy, and to strike the balance for the health of our economy.”

Cooper stresses that he wants safety protocols — wearing a mask in public, physically distancing, and practicing personal hygiene — to remain in place going forward. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 90,230 tests have been administered in St. Tammany, with 6,220 total positive cases reported. This is a 6.89% positivity rate.

Visit www.stpgov.org for more updates.

Local News

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Free of COVID-19 Test Shows

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stp news

From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper received negative results today, from his conventional COVID-19 test administered earlier this week, clearing him of a COVID-19 diagnosis. He plans to return to work in his office at Koop Drive next week.

“I want to thank everyone for their well-wishes while I was in quarantine. I am feeling much better and I am certainly looking forward to resuming my work routine and public activities,” Cooper said. “I feel strongly that quarantining — and following St. Tammany Parish Government COVID-19 protocol —was the responsible thing to do, and I appreciate the assistance of my staff while I worked from home during this period.”

Cooper self-quarantined — out of an abundance of caution — while he awaited medical clearance, after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and a fever last weekend. He followed St. Tammany Parish Government COVID-19 protocols, as well as the advice of medical professionals.

Visit www.stpgov.org for more updates.

General Local News

St. Tammany Health System Earns A+ from Fitch Ratings

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COVINGTON – Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ‘A+’ Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 1, (St. Tammany Health System) with positive outlook.

According to Fitch, “the affirmation of the ‘A+’ rating reflects strong operating performance that has helped support solid liquidity and leverage metrics even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Fitch further noted St. Tammany’s solid market share in a growing service area as well as its joint operating agreement with Ochsner Heath, which coordinates clinical services and operating income, supporting consistent volume and revenue growth.

The coronavirus pandemic figured into Fitch’s rating, as they note of STHS, “Fitch expects that the health system will continue to maintain a strong balance sheet despite pandemic-related pressures and ongoing capital projects, with leverage metrics that will remain consistent with the ‘aa’ category assessment throughout Fitch’s baseline scenario.”

STPH Board Chairman John Evans said, “STHS has worked hard to maintain our strong rating despite the pandemic and current economic outlook. Our board has been dedicated to position STHS for continued success into the future. This A+ Positive Outlook rating is one more step toward that goal.”

STHS President and CEO Joan Coffman added, “We are grateful to each and every colleague, physician, associate and partner that made this rating possible. Additionally, we thank Fitch for taking the time to understand our unique organization and our resolve to be good stewards of our resources in service of our mission caring for our community.”

Fitch has published a detailed explanation of the rating at https://www.fitchratings.com/research/us-public-finance/fitch-affirms-st-tammany-parish-hospital-service-dist-no-1-la-revs-at-a-outlook-positive-01-09-2020.

Local News

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Self-Quarantines After Experiencing Flu-like Symptoms

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper is leading by example as he has self-quarantined — out of an abundance of caution — after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and a fever last weekend. He is following St. Tammany Parish Government COVID-19 protocols, as well as the advice of medical professionals.

He has had a rapid COVID-19 test, which was negative, and is currently awaiting the results of a conventional test, expected in the next five to seven days.

He is currently working from home where he is in constant contact with staff, attending meetings via zoom and over the phone, and isolating so as not to come in contact with others. He is expected to return to work on the Koop Drive campus when he is cleared to do so by a physician.

We wish you a quick recovery Parish President Mike Cooper!

Check for updates at www.stpgov.org

CPD Updates Local News

CPD Update: City Court in Session Monday, Special Procedures

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From the Covington Police Department:

The Covington Police Department would like to inform the citizens of Covington that our City Court will be in session on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 3:00 PM. Also, due to COVID-19, the following procedures will be followed:

  • All persons present must wear a mask in the courtroom.
  • All persons entering the building will be required to answer the standardized COVID-19 screening questions and have their temperature checked. If anyone presents with a fever or answers yes to COVID-19 questions, they will immediately be reserved with a new court date and released before entering the courtroom.
  • Maximum occupancy in the courtroom will be 34 defendants to be called in alphabetically order for each docket.
  • All others will remain outside until their name is called to go before the Judge.
  • All Officers that are subpoenaed for trial will wait in the meeting room of the Council Chambers until needed to testify.
  • We will have someone outside to collect ticket payments if they would rather pay citations than appear in court.

This court session only applies to people who were issued a court date of August 24, 2020.

Local News Non Profit Spotlight

NFB Resale Shop Moving to New Location

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The Northshore Food Bank’s Resale Shop will be moving this week to a new location.

Information about the Northshore Food Bank’s Resale Shop from www.northshorefoodbank.org:

The Resale Shop offers a wide variety of clothing and household items. We rely solely on the generosity of the Northshore community and appreciate being trusted as your donation recipient. The Resale Shop accepts and sells everything from major appliances in good working order to like new, gently used furniture, household gadgets, clothing, jewelry, and more. We regularly provide clothing and housewares free of charge to individuals in need including Food Bank participants, people impacted by disasters such as fires or flooding, as well as those participating in programs at other non-profits including Safe Harbor, Family Promise, James Storehouse, and more.

If you would like to donate like new, gently used furnishings or appliances, but lack the means to bring them to the Resale Shop, please contact us at 985-892-5282 to schedule a free pick-up. Our home pickup service is provided for those residing in St. Tammany parish. We are unable to move items from upstairs locations, or break down furniture. Please make sure all items are located on the ground level of your residence. All items must be in like new, gently used condition which would exclude broken, stained, torn, or rusted items. Pickups typically occur between 9:00 am -1:00 pm on Tuesdays. We can provide an approximate 30-minute phone call before pick up, if requested. We reserve the right to refuse pick-up onsite if items are not in acceptable condition.

The Resale Shop is operated by employees and supported by many dedicated volunteers. Donations must be sorted, priced and staged in the store for sale. Volunteer placement is available six days a week. If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Resale Shop, click here.

Though we greatly appreciate everyone who wants to donate to The Resale Shop, we are unable to accept all items. Certain items have safety regulations, or resale restrictions, and some just don’t sell. Northshore Food Bank Resale Shop does not have the ability to repair, clean, or fix any items donated. We do not want to dilute our time or resources from supporting the overall Food Bank mission. If you are unsure if your donation is appropriate for the Resale Shop, feel free to call us at 985-892-5282 to confirm.

Donations are accepted Monday through Saturday 9am-3pm. Tax receipts are available at our front counter.

COVID-19 HOURS NOTICE – DONATION DROP OFF GUIDELINES

Donations are currently accepted on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:30a-12:30p behind the Resale Shop.

To make sure this is a contactless donation and safety is maintained for everyone, we have the following guidelines:

  • We will only serve one vehicle at a time so please be patient. We will move as quickly as possible, but safety is our number one concern.
  • Please place all donations in a box or a bag. No loose items! Do not bring your donations in containers you want returned (like plastic tubs) this will slow down the line and will not be accepted.
  • Your items need to be separated- for example: clothing all in one bag, shoes in one bag, electronics in a box etc. Items that are not separated will not be accepted.
  • When it is your turn – please exit your vehicle and place your donations in the disinfected bin provided for you. Our employees will not be allowed to retrieve your items from inside your car.
  • At ALL times you and our employees will need to be wearing masks. If you are not wearing a mask, you will not be able to donate. Also remember to stay six feet apart.
  • At the end of your donation, you will be given a tax receipt.

List of items WE ARE NOT TAKING AT THIS TIME:

  • No holiday items (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc)
  • No mattresses ,knives, computers, car seats, ceiling fans, sheets or comforters
  • No winter clothing—only summer clothes and shoes
  • No undergarments- underwear, stockings, bras or socks unless in packaging
  • NO magazines

Any furniture that you would like to donate needs to be approved- please email 2-3 pictures of your item to sdonnelly@northshorefoodbank.org.

Include your name and phone number in the email please.

SHOPPING GUIDELINES

We are now open for shopping Monday-Saturday 9:30a-4:00p.

  • Staff and shoppers are required to wear masks.
  • Only two people per family can shop together (children must be 12 and older).
  • Social distancing guidelines must be followed.
  • Resale Shop will be limited to 15 people on the sales floor at any given time.
  • All surfaces will be cleaned multiple times per day.
  • A sneeze guard has been installed in front of the register.
  • Donations will only be accepted on selected days when the store is not open.

Thank you for your support of Northshore Food Bank and for helping keep our staff and volunteers safe!

The Resale Shop’s focus is serving the community through raising funds to support food purchases for Northshore Food Bank. Learn more at www.northshorefoodbank.org

Local News

St. Tammany Health System COVID Update for Neighbors

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Update from the St. Tammany Health System:

Today at St. Tammany Health System, 21 patients are in COVID care with census of 143, and 283 COVID cases discharged since the pandemic began. Please continue to do your part by washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying six feet away from others and isolating yourself when you don’t feel well.

Most importantly, don’t delay care out of fear related to the presence of COVID-19 in our community. St. Tammany Health System is clean, safe and ready to care for you. Our patient Gary Kern recently experienced a heart attack, and he has a cautionary tale for the community, particularly those who may hesitate to seek care in the age of COVID-19. See his story on our website and all our social media channels.

Please keep doing your part to slow the spread of this disease. The CDC has this advice for proper care and wear for your mask. Thanks for doing your part to keep our community safe.

Learn more at the St. Tammany Health System website: www.stph.org/covid-19.

Local Events Non Profit Spotlight

STAA Announces New Exhibit Opening August 22nd

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Covington, LA – St. Tammany Art Association (STAA) presents a new exhibition, “The Space Between: Sculpture by Rick Brunner and Jonathan Pellitteri”. The exhibit will be on display August 22 through September 26, 2020 in the Miriam Barranger Gallery of the Arthouse with an opening reception on Saturday, August 22 at 5pm – 8pm. Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, guests to the reception are required to register in advance for timed tickets to ensure limited attendance and adequate space for social distancing. These free timed tickets can be obtained by visiting the STAA website at www.sttammany.art

“The Space Between” will feature sculptural works by nationally and internationally recognized artists, Rick Brunner and Jonathan Pellitteri. The show’s title sets out to create a question for the viewer, “What happens in the space between the artwork and the viewer in a gallery setting? Both Brunner and Pellitteri address this question in their work using objects from nature manipulated with man-made materials. Both artists bring a mixture of form and concept, antiquity and modern, energy and stillness to their work. The way each artist deals with the issue of space in finished works both differs and overlaps. For Brunner, Nature itself is the designer, and he seeks to pull forms from the environment and enhance its inherent beauty with his own intuitive skills as a woodworker and sculptor, thus engaging the audience to look at nature through a new set of lenses created by the artist. Pellitteri draws the audience into intricate spaces, combining miniature and life size objects that are themselves narratives on environment and nature. The artist states “With the objects I create I impart to the viewer a setting for their imagination to expand upon, informed by their own experiences, and guided by curiosity.”

New Orleans native, Rick Brunner was introduced to woodworking by his father who was an engineer and to art by his mother through her regular investigations of a variety of media which allowed him to explore and discover his own talents. His passion for creating three-dimensional objects as a boy coupled with the culturally rich influences of growing up in South Louisiana led him to explore the world of fine art. Growing up around the swampy woods and investigating the natural world around him was a valuable resource for stimulation and allowed the luxury of fantasy which has continued to inspire much of his work. After receiving his master’s degree in sculpture at the University of Notre Dame, he returned to the South and opened a studio in Baton Rouge. With a trained eye for sculpture and a deep appreciation for wood, Rick also learned the craft of furniture making and incorporated it into his professional work. His sculpture and furniture have been exhibited across the country in both regional and national level art galleries and museums, as well as included in major art collections both nationally and internationally.

Currently, he works out of his north shore studio, a timber frame style studio made from local trees, which he built himself and considers his “finest sculpture”.

Jonathan Pellitteri is an artist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. His studio practice focuses on sculptural objects that combine an appreciation for craft with a curiosity for materials, and a desire to tell stories.

Pellitteri was raised outside of Boston where he was introduced to the construction trades that have weighed heavily on his approach to art-making. Since leaving his native New England, Pellitteri has lived and worked in North Carolina, Louisiana, North Dakota, Italy, and Switzerland. Each place has had an enormous impact on the materials, techniques, and imagery found in his work. Pellitteri’s artwork has been shown in numerous museums and galleries throughout the United States and parts of Europe, it is included in many public, private, and corporate collections.

Online video interviews with the artists in their studios discussing their work will be featured throughout the exhibition period. For more details check STAA’s Facebook page and website, www.sttammany.art for links.

The St. Tammany Art Association is located at 320 N. Columbia Street, Covington, LA 70433. Our current gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 11am – 4pm. All exhibitions are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

St. Tammany Art Association is supported by the generosity of our members, volunteers, sponsors and by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs, St. Tammany Parish Government. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.