St. Tammany coroner issues Coronavirus warning

St. Tammany coroner shares COVID-19 concerns

ST. TAMMANY PARISH (WVUE) - Daily St. Tammany coronavirus numbers doubled in the month of November and Thanksgiving is still a week away.

“I don’t want to think about is the spike. I want to think of it as a trend,” said coroner, Dr. Charles Preston.

The parish averaged 30 new cases a day for the first eight months of the pandemic but in November those numbers grew to an average of 78 new Covid cases each day.

“In the last 21 days it is definitely on the rise,” said Preston.

Last week the state health department named the Lacombe Nursing Center as the state’s worst Covid hotspot. It reported 27 new cases there and this week things got even worse, with 12 new cases, and one death.

“Saturday morning when I heard the phone ring I just knew,” said Karen Milliken.

Milliken lost her 93-year-old grandmother Antoinette Nunnery Saturday, the day after she was told she had Covid, and state epidemiologists are investigating.

A state health spokesman says rising community spread could be a factor.

“Every time somebody foreign comes into a big setting it’s the opportunity to introduce viruses to that setting and it can spread very quickly,” said Preston.

Many fear things could get worse next week.

“I’m particularly concerned as were moving into the holiday season which are typically times for families to gather together,” said Preston.

Aside from the possibility that Thanksgiving gatherings could become super spreader events, the coroner also worries about the day after and Black Friday shopping.

“I think it’s going to be difficult for retailers to keep people six feet apart so pre-order and curbside pick up for online shopping,” said Preston.

The coroner says if you gather with family for the holidays try and keep group sizes small, social distance, and use disposable dinnerware.

Though the daily Covid infection rate more than doubled in St. Tammany this month, the coroner says the death rate remains flat.

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