SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator on Friday admonished those who continue to disregard social distancing guidelines issued under the statewide stay at home order.
“A lot of people that are listening to this, you’re already abiding by it and I appreciate that and the citizens of Caddo Parish, the ones that abide by it appreciate it. But a few knotheads that are out there deciding to do what you wanna do, and risking everybody else, that’s where it becomes ridiculous, okay? So please, take what I’m saying serious. I usually joke around and tease and play, I ain’t playin’ now. This is a serious situation we’re in.”
The sheriff said ten deputies have tested positive for COVID-19 and 11 others are pending. He also said 25 more deputies are isolated at home.
“Those numbers will be changing from time to time, as once isolation is through, we can put them back to work.”
None of the approximately 1,200 inmates at the Caddo Correctional Center have tested positive, Prator said, “but we’re prepared should that change.”
About 100 non-violent offenders awaiting trial have been released on their own recognizance, the sheriff said, and about 50 of them are wearing ankle monitors.
“That’s how serious this problem is, when you hear Steve Prator start talking about releasing inmates and encouraging the judges and DA to start releasing, then you know that it’s something that is extremely serious and extremely needed. These folks are being vetted very very carefully.”
Prator said the sheriff’s office will still enforce the law and make arrests as needed.
Prator, who is also the Director of Caddo Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, also provided updates on what local officials are doing to bring in supplies and equipment needed to respond to the pandemic.
That includes requesting 20,000 N95 masks through the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, for first responder in Caddo Parish. So far, Prator said, the parish has only received about 2,500.
“It takes a lot of negotiations and a lot of pressure.”
Prator said the parish has also received 5,000 Tyvek suits, but they were all 5X in size, so they’re trying to work that out.
He said they are also trying to work out everything from whether the general public should be encouraged to wear masks to whether there should be a curfew.
“We’re trying to figure out if that will do us any good or if it will shove more people on the streets at the particular time. Things like getting more testing sites, getting rapid test kits. Don’t think that we’re just sitting back on our fannies not doing anything. We are working constantly trying to provide for the citizens of Caddo Parish and we are successful at that.”
The sheriff also sought to address questions about whether the Louisiana National Guard would be responding and what role they might play in local response.
“They’re already here, already helping and it’s not likely they’re fixin’ to take over. I wanted to explain that to folks.”
Prator also confirmed that roadblocks have been set up by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Highway 1 and Highway 2, stopping every third vehicle to interview them about their reason for going into Texas.
As of 12 p.m. Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health was reporting 10 deaths in Caddo Parish and 336 confirmed cases. However, the Caddo coroner on Thursday night confirmed three more deaths from COVID-19 in the parish in addition to two the office confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the total to 15 since the first death was reported March 24.
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