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Montegut: Lower numbers are reassuring, but don’t let your guard down

Since my last newspaper update of June 3, there continues to be a low level of COVID-19 related infections and deaths in St. John the Baptist Parish.

From June 1-29 our parish recorded a total of 108 new cases of infection, a small increase over May’s total of 89. There have been only four COVID-19 related deaths in June, a tremendous decrease from 13 in May and 71 during the period of March 17-May 1, where there were also 771 new infections.

These low numbers are reassuring as we are witnessing increases in new cases in

28 states nationally, including our neighbors in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. There have also been increasing cases in Louisiana, especially in areas around Lafayette, Lake Charles and Alexandria. Fortunately, the hospitalization rate has not increased accordingly, as the vast majority of these cases have occurred in people under the age of 50.

Our parish has indeed been fortunate these last two months, but I feel our basic prevention measures of social distancing and wearing a mask in public have been successful in slowing down the spread of this virus. An other important factor has been an increased awareness by the general public to avoid large gatherings and other situations which could lead to easy spread, along with extra precautions for the elderly and any one ove rage 65. We need to continue these measures and not let our guard down until we see our statewide numbers declining in every major metropolitan area.

Dr. Christy A. Montegut is the elected coroner of St. John the Baptist Parish and can be contacted by phone at (985) 652-3344.