Several area officials offered positive messages over the Easter weekend.

The traditionally joyous Christian celebration took on a somber tone as families limited their usual gatherings.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment posted a video message to residents via parish government’s Facebook page.

“I know these are trying times, but we are blessed as a parish and we have plenty to be thankful for,” Cointment said.

Efforts to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus cases appear to be working, according to the parish leader. But, he warned, it’s no time to relax.

Cointment stressed the importance of continuing to practice the guidelines set by the governor. This includes physical distancing, frequently washing hands, wearing masks in public, and avoiding groups of 10 or more.

“This is the quickest way we will get back to some type of normal,” Cointment said.

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Gonzales’ First Lady Betty Arceneaux shared an Easter message to the city’s Facebook page. 

Arceneaux thanked Gonzales residents for cooperating with social guidelines.

“I’ve been deeply touched by the resolve each of you have shown,” Arceneaux said. “We’ll get back to normal. The time frame may be unsettling, but it will happen.”

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan also released a special Easter message over the weekend, encouraging residents to continue practicing social distancing and staying at home.

Plaquemine Mayor Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr. provided a brief video update on his city’s page as well. 

“Let’s say a prayer for all those affected by the coronavirus,” Reeves said.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, in his video message, said “the past few months have challenged us in ways none of us could have ever imagined.”

“Just because we are physically distant, it doesn’t mean we have to be totally distant from those that we love, and certainly not distant from our God,” he said.

Coronavirus figures overview

Louisiana reached 840 coronavirus deaths Sunday.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state had a total of 20,595 positive cases as of Sunday, April 12 at noon. 

Commercial tests completed and reported to the state totaled 98,526. Tests completed by a state lab came to 5,519. A total of 2,084 patients were reported in hospitals with 458 of those on ventilators. All 64 parishes have reported cases.

Ascension Parish accounted for 428 positives, and 23 deaths, LDH reported. East Baton Rouge Parish leads the Baton Rouge area with 1,223 cases, and 49 deaths. Iberville Parish has 232 cases, and 14 deaths.

The stay-at-home order issued March 23 remains in effect through April 30, unless extended.

Council meetings set

The Ascension Parish Council will hold a regular meeting on Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. via teleconference.

Public comment may be made via e-mail at comments@apgov.us up to 24 prior to the meeting. Messages will be read into the official record.

Live comments will be available by calling into a number to be posted 48 hours prior on ascensionparish.net.

Speakers are limited to agenda items only.

Also, the Donaldsonville City Council set a meeting for April 14 at 6 p.m. via GoToMeeting video conferencing.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m., Mayor Sullivan has been broadcasting live to the city’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DonaldsonvilleLA.

Also, he has been broadcasting Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. on KKAY 1590 AM and KBRS 106.9 FM. Rebroadcasts air at 6 p.m.

In the event of an after-hours emergency, Donaldsonville residents can call (225) 806-8215. A secondary number has been set up at (225) 806-0470.

School break ends

Ascension Parish Public Schools observed Easter/Spring Break from April 6-13. No academic assignments or meal programs were conducted for the week.

Online learning activities were set to continue April 14.

After the break, the system will provide "grab and go" meals with the non-profit Three O'Clock Project.

Starting April 14, the six pickup locations include: Donaldsonville High, Dutchtown High, East Ascension High, St. Amant High, Sorrento Primary, and the Waguespack Center in Donaldsonville.