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City Hall adapts, but still open for business

Coronavirus moves into Lincoln Parish; two cases thus far
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
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Ruston city government is open for business, though in a slightly scaled-back way, in light of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ coronavirus stay-at-home order.

“We are continuing all essential services,” Mayor Ronny Walker said Monday.

That includes regularly scheduled garbage and recycling pickup. However, there won’t be yard waste pickup for at least the anticipated three-week duration of the stay-a-home order.

Some city departments are rotating staff to cut down on person-to-person contact. Playgrounds and pavilions at city parks are closed, but walking trails remain open, Walker said.

Utility customers can still open and close accounts in the customer service department and pay their bills either online, via mail, using the drive-through or drop off their payment.

Meantime, as of Monday afternoon, Lincoln Parish had two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. One of the patients is in their late 50s, the other in the mid 40s, parish Homeland Security Director Kip Franklin said.

Both have self-quarantined at their homes, he said.

“My office has made contact with these people. They and their families are self-quarantined. They are riding things out,” Franklin said.

Both were tested last week after visits to their family doctors. At least one ofthe individuals reportedly was also tested initially for flu. The positive COVID-19 results for one of the patients apparently did not come back until Sunday.

Franklin predicted the number of local cases is likely to climb as results from tests done over the last week come back. There is generally a lag time of several days between a patient’s having the swab test done and receiving the results.

Both Franklin and Walker praised local residents for their general adherence to CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and limiting contact.

“Everybody’s practicing the social distancing real well,” Franklin said.

Walker also thanked residents for being “so supportive of our restaurants.” For the time being, eateries can only serve take-out, drive through or delivery.

Last week, the state ordered dining rooms shut down in effort to help stop the spread of the virus.

Walker also urged people to return to the normal grocery shopping habits and not stockpile items.