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Masks available today; local virus numbers still climbing

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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Leader photo by NANCY BERGERON

The last batch of free, reusable cloth facemasks will be distributed today from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Lincoln Parish Public Safety Complex on Road Camp Road. A steady stream of cars lined the parking lot at the complex for Friday’s drive-thru distribution. More than 17,000 masks were handed out Friday at seven locations across Lincoln Parish.

Lincoln Parish residents who didn’t pick up a free facemask on Friday and still want to do so can get one at the Lincoln Parish Public Safety Complex between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. today while supplies last.

More than 17,000 of the reusable, cotton masks were handed out in seven locations across the parish on Friday. Today’s giveaway is the few masks that remained after Friday’s events, Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Kip Franklin said.

In several locations, vehicles were waiting when the distribution began.

“People were lined up at 9:15 and they just kept coming,” Simsboro Mayor Sybil Smalling-Foster said.

Simsboro’s giveaway began at 10 a.m. By 10:45 a.m., their allotment of 300 masks was gone. Choudrant handed out all of its masks in about 30 minutes, and in Grambling, where the giveaway was scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., all of the masks were gone by noon.

The distribution was coordinated through the Lincoln Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The Hanes clothing company gave Louisiana more than 2 million of the washable masks that were then allotted to parishes based on 40 percent of the parish’s population.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing a mask or other face covering while grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy or other public places as part of the effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Draft regulations for reopening Ruston retail businesses and restaurants also require all employees to wear masks.

As of noon Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health showed Lincoln Parish with 79 confirmed cases. That’s a weekend jump of 15 cases since Friday’s midday of 64.

On Saturday, LDH reported 69 known Lincoln Parish cases of COVID-19, illness caused by the coronavirus, and on Sunday, a total of 72 cases.

The numbers don’t mean the addition people became ill over the weekend, but instead that their positive results of swab tests — which could have take a week or so ago — have just now made into the state’s reporting system.

The total number also includes the four parish residents have died of COVID-19.

The illness is believed to have claimed the life of at least one other local resident, officials say, but the number has yet to shown up on the LDH counter.

The numbers how 568 parish residents have been tested for COVID-19.

Statewide, Louisiana reported 27,068 coronavirus cases Monday, an increase of 295 from Sunday, and 27 more coronavirusrelated deaths. The death toll is 1,697.

Though the numbers continue to rise statewide, the frequency of new cases and deaths appears to be declining.

Some 17,303 Louisianans are presumed to have recovered from the disease.

The number of ecoveries by parish remain unavailable.