Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson didn't pull punches on Saturday night when offering his thoughts on how members of the parish are handling suggestions to practice social distancing.
The Parish President spoke during a Facebook Live video posted on Saturday night – just an hour or so after Lafourche's positive COVID-19 cases jumped from 5 to 11, thanks to a large batch of test results coming in from private labs.
In the video, Chaisson reiterated a lot of the same messages he's been preaching throughout the week, but was far more stern in his approach, expressing his displeasure in some residents of Lafourche who he believes are not taking experts' suggestions seriously.
"The massive amount of people that I'm still seeing on the road, that I'm still seeing in a lot of places ... look guys, the zombie apocalypse is not coming quite yet, if at all," he said. "The massive amounts of buying that we're doing at stores and the massive amount of cars that we're still seeing on the road, it's just absolutely not necessary. We've been preaching for a week and a half now about social distancing and staying home."
Chaisson also said in the video that he was surprised to see Lafourche's number of positive cases increase by more than double from 9:30 a.m. on Saturday to 6:30 p.m., but added that from information he'd been hearing, he was expecting an increase to happen as a backlog in pending tests were completed.
Chaisson said the focus now should be what individuals can do to curb the numbers – namely social distancing and following CDC guidelines.
The Parish President said he, himself, is practicing social distancing and he only goes to work and home.
Others, he said, should do the same.
"For the last week and a half, I've gone from my house to this office, back to my house," Chaisson said. "I'm trying to practice what we're preaching. I'm using hand sanitizer, washing our hands and doing all of that stuff. But we need to make a concerted effort to stay home as much as we can or we're going to see these numbers continue to spike. ... That's my plea to you guys tonight. I've tried to do it in every, single way possible."
The Parish President ended the message on a more positive tone, saying that he wasn't panicked or overly concerned by the numbers, and he doesn't think the increase will cause curfews, lock-downs or any of the other popular social media rumors that tend to ignite.
But he challenged the residents of Lafourche to rise up together and practice the things that they're being asked to do so that the current situation gets better and then, ultimately, eliminated.
If not, he said it's not out the realm of possibility for tough decisions to be made.
"If we continue to see the numbers spike statewide, we as leaders, may have to make some decisions that we may not be happy with and you guys may not be happy with," Chaisson said. "That's why I'm pleading with you guys to just stay home, follow the rules that we already have in place and continue to work with us so that we can get this thing done. We're going to get through it together. We're going to get through it as a parish, as a community, as a state and as a nation.
"But again, it's going to take everybody's help."
See the Parish President's full address below: