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STPG Covid Update

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Bars in St. Tammany May now Operate at 50% Capacity as Percent Positivity Rate Drops

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announced that effective 5 p.m. today, March 18, 2021, bars located in St. Tammany may now operate at 50% capacity as the Percent Positivity Rate in St. Tammany has moved below 5% for two consecutive weeks, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

“St. Tammany citizens have worked hard to adhere to best prevention practices, and many who are eligible are choosing to get the vaccine. These factors are impacting our positivity rates in a good way,” said President Mike Cooper.

The specific language in Proclamation Number 29 JBE 2021 COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Phase 3 of Resilient Louisiana states: “If a bar is located in a parish that has a percent positivity of 5% or less for two consecutive weeks, as determined and published by the Louisiana Department of Health, the bar may operate at 50% capacity, not to exceed 250 people, as determined by the State Fire Marshal. Should any parish that opts in subsequently exceed 5% positivity for two consecutive weeks, bars in that parish shall return to 25% capacity.”

Find current updates at the St. Tammany Parish Government website.

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Parish President Mike Cooper Calls on Citizens to Continue Prevention Practices Through the Mardi Gras Holiday

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

As we head into the Mardi Gras holiday weekend, St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper is relying on each and every St. Tammany resident to take personal responsibility, and heed the advice of medical professionals to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“St. Tammany Parish, like much of Louisiana, is preparing to celebrate the Mardi Gras holiday, albeit in different, more creative ways. We ask each of you to refrain from large gatherings — especially with people from outside of your own household, wear a mask in public, and continue to take precautions.”

President Cooper went on to say, “We are seeing our numbers decline with each passing week. Let’s plan to keep it that way, as we take the necessary precautions during Mardi Gras. Our goals have always been to lessen the burden on our hospitals and healthcare professionals who have worked tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients for nearly a year, and to balance the health of our community with the health of our economy. With everyone working together, we can achieve these goals and get through this pandemic.”

View President Cooper’s taped message, here.

For daily updates on COVID-19 including daily data for St. Tammany from the Louisiana Department of Health, visit www.stpgov.org/covid19.

Local News Parish News

COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expanded by Louisiana Department of Health

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Update from St. Tammany Health System:

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Louisiana will expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines on Monday (Feb. 8), Gov. John Bel Edwards announced in a Thursday press conference, lowering the minimum age from 70 to 65 and adding all first responders, not just those providing healthcare and vaccinations.

Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, based on criteria outlined by Louisiana Department of Health at LDH.la.gov/CovidVaccine/, can call 985-898-4001 to schedule an appointment through St. Tammany Health System.

When vaccines first became publicly available in December, they were limited only to Louisianans 70 and older, due to that group’s increased vulnerability to complications from the disease, and to healthcare professionals, due to their increased chances of exposure.

Increased availability of vaccine made it possible to widen eligibility, Edwards said.

“This is great news in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Mike Hill, an infectious disease specialist at St. Tammany Health System. “The quickest and safest way for us to defeat this pandemic is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and we’re excited for the opportunity to protect more of our neighbors here in St. Tammany.”

Dr. Hill added that both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine – each of which requires two doses – have proven to be both safe and effective in combating the virus.

“I got my vaccine in December, and I strongly encourage everyone in St. Tammany Parish to do the same as soon as you become eligible,” he said.

The expansion of vaccine eligibility comes at a crucial time, as COVID infections appear to be leveling off in Louisiana following a holiday season spike that stressed hospitals statewide. It also comes just as health officials warn against mass gatherings on Mardi Gras, which is Feb. 16 this year, and which could see another surge of infections.

Specific details about eligibility in Louisiana can be found at LDH.la.gov/CovidVaccine/.

Parish News

STP President Mike Cooper Again Calls on Citizens to Remain Vigilant in Prevention Practices

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Again Calls on Citizens to Remain Vigilant in Prevention Practices as COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Rise

As the Louisiana Department of Health reports a percent positivity rate in St. Tammany Parish above 10% for the third consecutive week, St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper again asks residents to remain strong in their commitment to best prevention practices to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

“We all need to continue to stay the course and exercise personal responsibility as we take every precaution necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is critically important as we see our percent positivity rate continue to climb, our hospital staffs strained, and our medical resources negatively impacted,” Cooper said. “We have a mask mandate in Louisiana as well as here in St. Tammany — every person over the age of eight is required to wear a mask in public, including outdoor public spaces. We should all continue to physically distance, avoid large gatherings, and practice personal hygiene including frequent handwashing and sneezing into your elbow.

“If you feel ill, stay home to avoid infecting others. Consider making an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible. We must continue to work together to protect the most vulnerable among us while retaining our medical resources. We are optimistic that these vaccines will help us to move through to the next phase of this pandemic. We need everyone to continue to do their part to ensure that we get there.”

For daily updates on COVID-19 including daily data for St. Tammany from the Louisiana Department of Health, visit www.stpgov.org/covid19.

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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.

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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
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St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Announces Bars May Re-open for On-Premises Consumption

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announces that bars may reopen in St. Tammany for on-premises consumption as of today, October 7, 2020, under Phase 3 guidelines as our percent positivity rate has fallen below 5% for two consecutive weeks. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, from 9/17 – 9/23, St. Tammany Parish had a Percent Positivity Rate of  3.5 %; and for the week of  9/24 – 9/30, 4.30 %. Cooper submitted an opt-in request to the Governor’s Office Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in anticipation of the percent positivity rate in St. Tammany falling below the required threshold for bars to reopen under Governor Edwards’ Phase 3 requirements, received official approval from the Louisiana State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, and subsequently signed an amended Executive Order reflecting the change.

“Opening another sector of our economy is a big win for us, and for the businesses who will get to open their doors to the public again. We were set to proceed as quickly as possible to do so,” said Cooper. “As I have said since this pandemic began, my goal is to balance the health of the community with the health of our economy.”

Bars may open under the following guidelines:

  1. Bars may reopen and offer tableside service only. Standing and bar service will be prohibited.
  2. Indoor capacity shall be limited to a 25% occupancy rate or fifty (50) people, whichever is less.
  3. Outdoor capacity shall be limited to fifty (50) people and only for tableside service.
  4. Tables shall be spaced in accordance with SFM social distancing guidelines.
  5. Bars and other Class AG permit holders including daiquiri shops must cease all sale and service of alcoholic beverages and close no later than 11 P.M.
  6. No person under the age of twenty-one (21) shall be allowed on to the premises.
  7. Live music is prohibited.

See complete guidelines here.

Per Phase3 guidelines, if at any time St. Tammany Parish’s percent positivity rate subsequently exceed 10% positivity for two consecutive weeks, bars in St. Tammany Parish will then be closed for on-premises consumption, unless and until the percent positivity decreases to 5% or less for two consecutive weeks. www.stpgov.org

Local News

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