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Dubach mayor resigns, has COVID-19

Friday, August 7, 2020
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Dubach Mayor Mary Claire Smith has resigned her position citing health issues.

Though her resignation letter, dated Tuesday, does not mention specifics, two town officials on Thursday confirmed that Smith has COVID-19 and is hospitalized in Shreveport.

Town Clerk Pamela Spillers said Smith is not on a ventilator, but has had “a little trouble breathing and talking.”

Smith was in her first term, having taken office in 2019.

Mayor Pro Tem Ruby Key Dawson said she learned of Smith’s resignation on Wednesday. Dawson will serve as mayor until a special election can be called.

The Town Council will meet at 10 a.m. Aug. 12 to discuss Smith’s resignation.

Smith’s illness is not the town government’s first brush with the novel coronavirus. Spillers tested positive for COVID-19 on July 24; Thursday was her first day back to work.

Spillers’ husband, who also tested positive, is still recovering at home.

Smith, a retired teacher, said many times that one of her main goals as mayor was to “put Dubach back on the map.”

The first year and a half of her term found her often at odds with three of her council members, including Dawson.

Parish death count rises

Meantime, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of four more people in Lincoln Parish.

Figures released at noon Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Health show 28 local residents have now died of the respiratory ailment since April. The number represents four additional deaths reported this week.

However, because of a lag time in reporting, that doesn’t mean all four died during the week.

At least some of the deaths appear to have come from COVID-19 cases in a local long-term care facility. Weekly updates posted each Wednesday on the LDH website show as of July 28, Ruston Nursing and Rehabilitation showed a four COVID-19 deaths. This week’s report shows seven.

The numbers are cumulative dating back to the start of reports in May. Lincoln Parish reported its first two COVID-19 deaths on April 3.

According to the LDH report, in addition to the 28 deaths, Lincoln Parish now has 754 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That figure, too, is cumulative. The number reflects a 10-case jump over the previous day, and 59 new cases so far this month.