Local News

COVID-19 IN SWLA: Now 164 Confirmed Cases in Area, 108 in Calcasieu

There are now 164 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Southwest Louisiana, 108 of those in Calcasieu Parish.
Eighteen additional confirmed cases were reported in Calcasieu in the latest numbers released by the Louisiana Department of Health at noon Thursday.
LDH’s website now reflects the three deaths at Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex. Allen Parish now has a total of 26 confirmed cases, including the 11 inmates and four staff members who have tested positive at the prison.
There are now 9,150 reported cases and 310 deaths from COVID-19 reported across the state. The total cases jumped by 2,726, which Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a tweet is due to a “logjam” in commercial labs.
An additional 37 deaths were reported in Louisiana.
For the second day in a row, cases across the state jumped by 1,200, bringing the total to 6,424. Another 34 deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Louisiana to 273.
2,726 more cases

There are now 164 cases across Southwest Louisiana.
ALLEN – 26 cases, 3 deaths
BEAUREGARD – 10 cases, 0 deaths
CALCASIEU – 108 cases, 1 death
CAMERON – NO reported cases
JEFF DAVIS – 13 cases, 0 deaths
VERNON – 7 cases, 0 deaths
STATE: 9,150 cases, 310 deaths. Click HERE for more. The state updates the website daily, at noon.
The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Calcasieu was reported on Thursday, March 19. Parish officials reported one death from COVID-19 on Monday, March 23. It is the first death from COVID-19 reported in Southwest Louisiana.
The person who died was 77 years old.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported the first two positive cases of coronavirus in Allen Parish on its website Monday, March 23. Both cases were at Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
Two more cases were announced on Thursday, March 26.
Patrick Jones, 49, a prisoner at Oakdale FCC, died Saturday, March 28, from the virus. He complained of a persistent cough on Thursday, March 19, and was transported to a local hospital. He was placed on a ventilator on Friday, March 20.
Beauregard Parish reported its first positive case of COVID-19 on Saturday, March 21. Beauregard Parish officials said in a news release that they were advised by the state today that a test had come back positive. Read the full news release HERE.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jeff Davis Parish was reported on Tuesday, March 24.
Representatives with Byrd Hospital in Leesville confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their facility on Saturday, March 21. The patient is no longer at the hospital. https://www.kplctv.com/2020/03/20/covid-swla-three-cases-reported-calcasieu/

LSP Report Fatal Single Vehicle Accident in Allen Parish

About 12:22 a.m. Thurday, April 2, 2020, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop D responded to a single-vehicle crash on LA Hwy 113 about 4 miles north of US Hwy 190 in Allen Parish.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck, driven by Brendan Lee Pecanty, 26 of St. Amant, was traveling south on LA Hwy 113.

The Chevrolet crossed the center line, ran off the left side of the roadway, and struck the embankment of a creek.

Pecanty suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A toxicology sample was obtained from the driver and will be submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.


Mansfield Joins Municipalities with Curfews

 Mansfield Mayor John Mayweather has issued a curfew for all Mansfield residents effective immediately and until further notice.

The curfew restricts activity between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. within the city limits. This curfew does not apply to first responders, essential work-related or emergency medical needs.

The city joins an ever-growing list of municipalities putting restrictions on residents’ movement during the COVID-19 emergency.

Coushatta Mayor Johnny Cox issued a curfew Wednesday, restricting activity between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. within the city limits.

“Please be advised, if you are out after this time, you can be cited. In order for this curfew to work, everyone must follow the rules. Please avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people and maintain social distancing of 6 feet, requiring people to be 6 feet apart from each other,” Cox said in his letter.

This curfew does not apply to first responders, essential work-related or emergency medical needs.

The towns of Many, Homer and Ringgold also have curfews in place.

In Many, the curfew is from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will remain in place until May 1. The curfew impacts merchants and citizens on Highway 6, Highway 171 and San Antonio Avenue, Mayor Ken Freeman said.

Excluded from the curfew are those traveling to and from work and for emergency situations.

Homer Mayor Xanthe Seals said the curfew is in place there through April 30. Curfew hours are 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

“This curfew may be extended beyond April 30 if state and federal officials deem it necessary,” Seals wrote. “Only those providing essential services will be allowed to be outside their homes after this time.”

In Ringgold, the hours are 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“Please be advised if you are seen out after this time you will be cited!!!” states a Ringgold Police Department Facebook post.

Curfews in Springhill and Cullen are aimed at juveniles.

In Springhill, Police Chief Will Lynd set a curfew of 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. for anyone under the age of 17. Juveniles can be out with their parents or other legal guardians, who are defined by Louisiana statute as any person who has legal authority of a minor child or juvenile.

Lynd says they can still travel to and from work, “but cannot be out roaming the streets of the City of Springhill all hours of the night.”

Cullen’s curfew also is aimed at minors. Those 17 years old and younger must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardians if outside their residence between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to Cullen officials.

The daily curfew is expected to remain in place until concerns of the coronavirus have cleared the air and children return to school.

In Minden, Mayor Terry Gardner has suggested everyone be home by 8:30 p.m. nightly. But a curfew is not in place.


Cleco Asks Customers to Stay at Least 6 Feet Away From Crews

Cleco is asking customers and the general public to practice social distancing with its field crews.

“While some Cleco employees are working remotely from home due to the coronavirus, other employees critical to operations continue to work as usual in order to provide Cleco customers with safe, reliable power,” said James Lass, director of distribution operations and emergency management. “Our line mechanics are among the employees critical to our operations both in emergency and non-emergency situations. To protect our customers and line mechanics, we are asking customers to stay at least six feet away as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

While Cleco has temporarily suspended service disconnects until further notice to assist customers during the pandemic, work related to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity must continue. Additionally, operationally critical employees have to respond to emergency calls.

Utilities are among the industries identified as critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and have an obligation to continue working, safely.

Some measures being taken by the company in response to the coronavirus include:

• Cleco has temporarily suspended late fees and disconnects. However, customers who wish to pay their bill can use Cleco’s self-service payment options listed on www.cleco.com. Our customer service representatives continue to be available by calling 1-800-622-6537.
• All Cleco office locations, including the company’s corporate headquarters in Pineville, are closed to the public.
• All non-operationally critical employees are working remotely from home.
• All operationally critical employees are practicing various hygiene and social distancing guidelines in their daily work practices.
• Employees of business partners who deliver goods to Cleco or perform services at Cleco sites are required to practice proper hygiene and social distancing.
• All non-critical travel for Cleco business is prohibited and air travel banned.
• No in-person gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed.
• All company meetings are being held virtually or via phone.

“In addition to social distancing, customers should always maintain a safe distance away from electrical equipment which includes downed power lines,” said Lass.

For more information on Cleco’s response to the coronavirus, including scam awareness tips and ways to conserve energy, visit www.cleco.com or follow the company on Facebook at @ClecoPower.



Louisiana Reports 6,424 COVID-19 Cases, including 273 Deaths

On April 1, Louisiana’s health department reports a total of 6,424 cases of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, across the state. The state added 1,187 cases overnight. This is just shy of the previous report’s addition of 1,212 cases. Over the last two days, Louisiana added 2,399 cases. Just a week ago, on March 25, Louisiana reported 1,795 total cases.

*Reported COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 1,498 (490 of those on ventilators.)

273 deaths have been reported statewide. That includes a 17-year-old from Orleans Parish. 97% of people who died in Louisiana as of March 29 had some kind of underlying health condition, health officials said. The top reported conditions were diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity.

  • Pulmonary (12%)
  • Cardiac (21%)
  • Diabetes (40%)
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (23%)
  • Chronic Liver Disease (2%)
  • Immunocompromised (4%)
  • Neurological (6%)
  • Obesity (25%)
  • No Underlying Conditions (3%)

The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported over two months ago, in mid-January. Since then, the U.S. has reported over 180,000 cases, including over 4,000 deaths. Over 7,000 recoveries are reported. Get the latest numbers here.

Cases in Northeast Louisiana

As of April 1, the official reported Louisiana COVID-19 case count includes 80 cases in Ouachita, 13 cases in Lincoln, 11 cases in Union, 4 cases in Jackson, 2 cases in La Salle, 2 cases in Morehouse, 1 case in Winn, 3 cases in Richland, 1 case in Madison, 5 in Franklin, 1 in East Carroll, 5 in Concordia, and 3 cases in Catahoula. (If a case number went down, health officials say the patient’s parish of residence was determined to be something other than what was originally given.)

Grayson PD reported a COVID-19 case in Caldwell Parish. This is not reflected in the state’s numbers. Louisiana officials warn that even if there are no reported cases in your area, COVID-19 is likely already in your area. They say the lack of positive cases in rural parishes is likely due to a lack of testing.

The report says one death has been reported in Ouachita and one death has been reported in Catahoula. The state reports the Ouachita resident was 56 years old. They say the Catahoula resident was 38. Sterlington police say a resident with underlying conditions died on March 22.

New totals will be released each day at noon.

You can see the parish-by-parish breakdown on an interactive map by scrolling down. If you would like to see the number of cases worldwide or in specific countries, you can do so by clicking here.

Deaths by Age Group

As of April 1 at noon, the LDH COVID-19 dashboard showed:

  • 1 death among individuals below 18
  • 1 deaths among individuals ages 18-29
  • 8 deaths among individuals ages 30-39
  • 15 deaths among individuals ages 40-49
  • 40 deaths among individuals ages 50-59
  • 45 deaths among individuals ages 60-69
  • 163 deaths among individuals ages 70+

Cases by Age Group

As of April 1 at noon, the LDH COVID-19 dashboard showed:

  • 53 positive cases among individuals below 18
  • 632 positive cases among individuals ages 18-29
  • 1,027 positive cases among individuals ages 30-39
  • 1,228 positive cases among individuals ages 40-49
  • 1,334 positive cases among individuals ages 50-59
  • 1,138 positive cases among individuals ages 60-69
  • 1,012 positive cases among individuals ages 70+


Second Inmate at Oakdale Federal Prison Dies From Coronavirus

A second inmate has died from COVID-19 at the Federal Correctional Institution Oakdale I in Oakdale.

Inmate Nicholas Rodriquez, 43, was transported to a local hospital, on Mar. 25, after prison medical staff determined he had a high temperature, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing, according to information from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. While at the hospital, Rodriquez tested positive for COVID-19. On Mar. 27, he was placed on a ventilator as his condition declined.

Rodriquez, who had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions, died on April 1, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Rodriguez was sentenced in the Northern District of California to a 15-year, 8-month sentence for conspiracy to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. He had been held at FCI Oakdale I since January 09, 2019.

There are currently 15 positive cases at FCI Oakdale I, as of April 1. Eleven cases are inmates and four are staff.

The prison currently houses 980 male offenders.

The Bureau of Prisons will continue to provide daily updates and information on actions related to COVID-19.

Details on the first inmate death at FCI Oakdale I can be found HERE.


Brookshire Brothers Closes Buna Store After Manager’s Wife Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Brookshire Brothers corporate headquarters in Lufkin announced on Tuesday that they had temporarily closed their Buna store after an employee’s wife tested positive for Coronavirus. Meanwhile, numerous residents of Buna tell KJAS News that the employee, who is the store manager, continued to work in the store even as his wife was in quarantine and waiting test results to come back.

The company said in a statement “…we have a safety professional onsite directing further sanitizing measures and will close the store until that process is complete.”

Brookshire Brothers said they plan to have the entire store professionally cleaned and sanitized and then reopened as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, Buna residents will have to travel to either 16 miles up to Kirbyville or 15 miles down to Silsbee to reach the nearest grocery stores.

KJAS News spoke to Jasper County Judge Mark Allen early Tuesday afternoon and he said that so far whichever medical facility the woman went to has still not reported the case to the Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center in Beaumont. Judge Allen said that he is working to find out where she went and why that entity did not report the case, which it is required to do within 4 hours whether it is a suspected or confirmed case.

The following is the complete statement from Brookshire Brothers:

Due to community concerns, Brookshire Brothers has temporarily closed its Buna location.

Monday afternoon, an employee at our Buna store made our Corporate Human Resources Department aware that his spouse had tested positive for coronavirus.

As soon as we were aware of the positive diagnosis, we instructed the employee to self-quarantine. Until that time, the Company had no knowledge of the situation.

As was the case prior to this incident, our team has continuously sanitized the store and the adjacent fuel island following CDC guidelines. We are adhering to those same guidelines regarding symptom monitoring of our employee owners and their ongoing hygiene practices. In addition, we have a safety professional onsite directing further sanitizing measures and will close the store until that process is complete.

Measures are underway to put additional protection in place to further safeguard the shopping experience.

Keeping our employee owners and our customers healthy and safe is our highest priority. Once the store re-opens we will encourage everyone to continue to practice social distancing. Signage and in-store announcements continually remind customers and employees to maintain a safe and mindful distance of six feet apart while shopping.

It is our hope to have the store open soon to serve our customers and community.

Our entire country is working to slow the spread of COVID-19. We believe it is our shared responsibility to help flatten the curve. We appreciate the support of the community as we walk through this time together.


Teenager Charged with Hit-And-Run Fatality

A 17-year-old has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run fatality on Roy Road, Sheriff Steve Prator said in a news release Tuesday.

Caddo sheriff’s patrol deputies were called to the 4300 block about 9:30 p.m. on Monday about a man was found dead near the driveway of the Corridor Apartments. The man was later identified as 38-year-old Joshua James Parrish, who lived at the apartment complex.

Det. Nathan Everett said the teen was driving on Roy Road when he thought he hit a sign but did not stop to investigate. After he heard of the fatality in the same location, he turned himself in to Blanchard police Tuesday morning.

The teenager was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center for felony hit and run. 


THE LATEST: Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus Reported in La.

Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 5,237 cases of coronavirus reported in the state. There have been 239 deaths reported.

In Central Louisiana, as of March 31, there are:

Allen Parish: 15 cases
Avoyelles Parish: 19 cases
Grant Parish: 2 cases
Rapides Parish: 58 cases, 3 deaths
Natchitoches Parish: 2 cases
Vernon Parish: 3 cases

Currently, 1,355 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. Of those, 438 patients require ventilators.

The state reported a 58-year-old with underlying health conditions being treated at Touro Infirmary in Orleans Parish died Saturday, March 14, marking the first death in Louisiana.

The first death from Rapides Parish was a 76-year-old. The other two were listed as two 69-year-olds.

The Department of Health has identified COVID-19 clusters in 40 long-term care facilities in the state. For context, there are a total of 436 nursing homes and adult residential care facilities in Louisiana. A cluster is identified as two or more cases that appear to be connected.


8 Deaths, 329 Active COVID-19 Cases in NW Louisiana

NW Louisiana COVID-19 cases:

Caddo            222, 5 deaths

Bossier           57 cases

Webster           11 cases, 1 death

Claiborne          4 cases

DeSoto            18 cases, 1 death

Bienville          5 cases, 1 death

Lincoln            8 cases

Red River        1 case

Sabine             1 case

Natchitoches   2 cases

Statewide  4,025 cases, 185 deaths


Amneal Pharmaceuticals to Donate 400K Tablets of Hydroxychloroquine for La. COVID-19 Patients

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, working with the assistance of State Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Mills, is announcing a donation by Amneal Pharmaceuticals to help respond to the COVID-19 health emergency.

Amneal is donating 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to the State of Louisiana.

“On behalf of Louisiana, I want to thank Amneal for this generous donation. It is important we all work together to help solve the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis. We must come together as Louisianans and as Americans. This donation from Amneal demonstrates their strong effort to be a good corporate citizen in our Nation. I wish to remind everyone of the importance of social distancing guidelines issued by the President and state officials. Amneal’s donation is one step toward trying to find treatments and cures for this epidemic. Right now, there are no silver bullets. We must remain vigilant against the spread of this virus.”


Senator Fred Mills added, “I commend Amneal for working with Attorney General Jeff Landry and me in bringing forward this remarkable donation to benefit citizens of Louisiana.”

According to Landry’s office, Hydroxychloroquine has been identified as a possible treatment for COVID-19 Coronavirus and the large donation will go toward clinical trials and patient treatment in Louisiana.

The Louisiana State University School of Medicine is working to launch two different clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine in relation to COVID-19.

One trial will utilize hydroxychloroquine on those who have significant COVID-19 disease. The other trial protocol will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for those healthcare workers on the front lines battling the epidemic.

Trials will be conducted at the University Medical Center in New Orleans and at the LSU Medical School locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

“I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator Fred Mills working with Amneal to bring this donation to the citizens of Louisiana. This donation will allow us to conduct clinical trials examining how hydroxychloroquine may help clear the virus from the lungs of infected patients and to potentially help shield healthcare workers who are on the front lines treating patients.”



Shelby County Issues Stay-At-Home Order Due to COVID-19

Beginning at 11:59 Monday, March 30, 2020, Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison is ordering all individuals living within Shelby County to stay home and travel only to perform essential activities, essential government functions, or to operate essential businesses as outlined here. Please read the order carefully to see how daily activities and business will be impacted.

The following are four categories of allowed activities:

1. Activities related to maintaining the health and safety of their family, household members, and their pets. Examples are seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, and visiting a healthcare professional. This includes caring for a family member or pet in another household.

2. Activities to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family and household, including groceries or food (such as from curbside or drive-thru pickup from restaurants), pet supplies and pet food, supplies needed to work from home and consumer products, and picking up materials for distance learning or school-provided meals.

3. Outdoor activity, such as walking, running or cycling, but only if social distancing is upheld, such as staying six feet away from other people.

4. Working for an exempted business or government that is providing essential services or products needed by the public during this crisis, this is explained in detail below.

All public and private gatherings consisting of more than 10 individuals or anyone than a person’s own household or family are prohibited.

Businesses and organizations that are providing products and services that are needed by the community during this crisis are exempt. The followed exempt businesses may continue operating, provided they exercise proper social distancing:

· Healthcare operations, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare facilities and supplies, home-based care and residential facilities for seniors and children, and veterinary care;

· Essential infrastructure including construction, water, sewer, gas, electrical, roads and solid waste collection and removal, internet, telecommunications systems, first responders, emergency management personnel, law enforcement, emergency dispatchers, animal shelters;

· Government functions as determined by the government entity to perform those functions provided social distancing requirements are met;

· Businesses related to food sales, delivery, and cultivation such as grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, food and good delivery operations, pet supplies, liquor stores, farming, livestock, and fishing;

· Charitable organizations providing food, shelter and social services to economically disadvantaged or vulnerable populations, including animals;

8 Deaths, 327 Active COVID-19 Cases in NW Louisiana

NW Louisiana COVID-19 cases:

Caddo            219, 5 deaths

Bossier           56 cases

Webster           9 cases, 1 death

Claiborne         4 cases

DeSoto           25 cases, 1 death

Bienville          3 cases, 1 death

Lincoln            7 cases

Red River        1 case

Sabine              1 case

Natchitoches   2 cases

Statewide  3,540 cases, 151 deaths


Oakdale Inmate Dies From Coronavirus

News Channel 5 has learned of a Coronavirus related inmate death. On Thursday March 19, 2020, inmate Patrick Jones complained of a persistent cough at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, Louisiana.

Jones was evaluated by institutional medical staff and transported to a local hospital for further treatment and evaluation. While at the local hospital, Jones tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday, March 20, 2020 his condition declined and he was placed on a ventilator. On Saturday, March 28, 2020 Jones, who had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 disease, was pronounced dead by hospital staff.

Jones was a 49-year-old male who was sentenced in the Western District of Texas to a 324 month sentence for Possession with Intent to Distribute 425.1 grams of crack cocaine within 1000 feet of a junior college. He had been in custody at FCI Oakdale I since April 26, 2017.
FCI Oakdale is a Low security facility that currently houses 990 male offenders.


Texas Quarantine Order Expanded to Include Travelers From Louisiana

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has dramatically expanded the mandatory 14 day quarantine order issued last week to include people who’ve traveled from the entire state of Louisiana by road or air.

“My prior executive order about travel from New Orleans covered air travel from New Orleans into the state of Texas. Now, I am updating that executive order to also include travel by road. Travel by road from any location in the state of Louisiana. Importantly, this executive order does not apply to travel related to commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions. This order will be enforced like the order that I issued previously about travel from New Orleans. It will be enforced by the Department of Public Safety at and near entry points from Louisiana.”

The order was announced at a briefing on Sunday.

National Guard task force brigades have been called to provide infrastructure support to the state, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Abbott has also designated a Dallas convention center as a site that will warehouse medical equipment and 250 beds, if needed.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center could house patients if the state’s hospitals become overwhelmed, Abbott said.

On Thursday, Abbott announced an executive order that will make it mandatory for anyone traveling to Texas through an airport from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans to self-quarantine for 14 days.

During the news conference Thursday, Abbott said the executive order will be enforced by Texas DPS. He added that travelers from those areas will have to report their “quarantine location” in a form to DPS.

The individuals will also receive visits from DPS who will ensure they are complying with the order. The individuals will not be allowed to go out in public, and will only be allowed visitation from doctors or physicians.

Those who do not follow the guidelines of the order will be subject to a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail.