Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre joined Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan Thursday afternoon for a live coronavirus update.
Sheriff Webre began by commending Mayor Sullivan and local officials for their assistance in setting up a testing site in Donaldsonville. The site is located at Donaldsonville Primary School, 38210 Hwy. 3089.
The soft opening - for emergency responders and state residents 65 years old and older - was on the morning of Monday, April 27. The site opened to the public the following day.
Testing is free and available to everyone over 18 with a valid state government issued identification.
“This will be a safe site,” Webre said. “One way in and one way out. You will not get out of your vehicle.”
Medical personnel, along with deputies and members of the National Guard, will be on site.
“It will be a finely-tuned COVID site where a lot of testing will be done. That’s exactly what we need,” Webre said.
He also mentioned the eventual reopening of public places throughout the parish.
“We don’t know what that looks like yet,” he said. “We know it won’t be back to normal right away. It will be in phases.”
The Sheriff also commended his staff as they have faced the challenges brought on by the coronavirus crisis. He said the patrol, jail, and dispatch departments are all fully staffed.
“If you have any concerns, call our dispatch, and we will be out there as soon as we can,” Webre said.
He noted an increase in complaints called in about four-wheelers, go-carts, and other off-road vehicles being driven on roads.
“I want to address that. Certainly we will continue to patrol our streets. If we see any off-road vehicles on the streets, I’ve directed our staff and deputies to take appropriate action, even to the point of giving citations if they have to,” Webre said.
He also addressed complaints about gatherings.
“The Mayor and I decided not to implement a curfew. We didn’t think we needed one then, and we don’t think we need one now,” Webre said.
Though he acknowledged people are eager to get out of their houses, he stressed the importance of abiding by the Stay at Home order.
“We’re almost there. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
The Sheriff plans to open the three district business offices within “two to three weeks,” pending extensions of guidelines from Gov. John Bel Edwards.
At the time of the broadcast, Ascension Parish had recorded 33 coronavirus deaths.
“Last night, we lost one of our long-time fire chiefs, Eugene Witek. Of course, prayers go out to his family,” he said.
Sheriff Webre said residents should not hesitate in contacting his staff if they have any concerns or complaints.
“We are not at a reduced force within the Sheriff’s Office,” he said.
A possible food distribution site may be in the works in coming weeks, but there’s “nothing concrete” as far as plans.
“We’ll keep you posted on that,” he said.
Mayor Sullivan said local officials are working together on plans to reopen public places.
Until then, he stressed the importance of following the guidelines set forth by the Governor, Parish President, and area leaders.
“You can rest assured we will act in what is best for the health and well being of our citizens,” Sullivan said.