Jessie Bellard
Local News Parish Council

Parish Jail Experiences More Positivity For COVID

Contributing Writer

An additional two St. Landry Parish Jail inmates have tested positive for COVID, according to parish president Jessie Bellard. 

Bellard said testing performed at the jail on Thursday indicate that 12 prisoners out of 232 have now tested positive for COVID.

Bellard told the Parish Council during a regular monthly meeting Wednesday night that jail intake officials are taking heightened precautions to prevent a spread of the virus among the inmate population.

“The prisoners who tested positive have been isolated from the remainder of the prisoners. We are taking the same precautions as we did before by putting those with positive cases away from the general population,” Bellard said.

Bellard added that parish jail health officials have administered antibodies and provided vitamins for those with positive cases.

During the Wednesday night Council meeting, Bellard revealed that 10 inmates out of the 148 tested at that point, were experiencing COVID symptoms and were being isolated away from the other prisoners.

“We did an additional 70 or more tests after that and that’s when we discovered that two others were positive. The cases we are seeing are happening on the third floor of the jail, where there is limited access. The population there doesn’t move around much,” Bellard said.

Ballard said the number of cases discovered wasn’t necessarily surprising.

“It’s more cases than we have had in a long time. But (the virus) is out there right now. We are following all the CDC guidelines and proper protocols,” Bellard noted.

Inmates are also experiencing more testing for the virus, Bellard said.

Parish and State COVID Updates

The appearance of COVID at the parish jail seems to reflect the double digit increase of the virus parish wide.

Earlier in January, parish public school officials said the parish had reached a 10.17 percent positivity rate.

An Opelousas General Health Systems COVID update report presented at a Jan. 11 Board of Aldermen meeting indicated that the statewide hospitalization rate of 1,095 was close to 10 times greater than the last update in November.

The OGHS update presented to the Board also showed the positivity rate parish wide had not changed significantly since it was reported at the Jan. 7 School Board meeting.

The OGHS report also shows 48.16 percent of the parish was vaccinated by Jan. 11 and the positive inpatient statistics at the facility were were five times more than the previous update.

About 64 percent of all COVID-positive patients at OGHS since Jan. 1 were unvaccinated, according the to report presented to the Board of Aldermen.