BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker said in a recorded briefing Thursday that things will likely never be the same because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the city is doing everything it can to follow state and federal guidance to protect city employees and first responders, along with the public.
“As we all are hoping and praying for a return to some sense of normalcy, but I think most people would agree that this is going to be a new normal, it will never be like the old says and for months, perhaps years to come, we’re going to be dealing with this pandemic in one way or the other.”
Walker also urged citzens to continue to comply with the statewide stay at home order and social distancing guidelines.
While Mayor Walker says, “We’re not there yet,” he and other City leaders are discussing what future operations may look like for the City of Bossier City Municipal Complex and other City facilities.
“A a return in April may be a little bit ambitious, but we’ll have to see what is put forth by the scientists and the medical experts that are advising the president and the governors and these other agencies. But every one of us must all do our part. We will not contain the virus unless we all do our part, so I urge you to continue doing what you’re doing and make certain that those of you who can influence are also complying with all these directives if we’re going to stop the spread of this virus.”
One of the plans already in motion is installing locking mechanisms on the doors of city hall and ordering thermometers preparation for the likelihood that temperature checks will become part of the process of entering the building.
“We want to be ahead of the game,” said Bossier City Fire Chief Brad Zagone.
Zagone also shared statistics on the number of calls the Bossier City Fire Department has answered over the past month and how many of them have involved COVID-19 cases that have been confirmed.
Over the last 14 days, Zagone said the fire department has made a total of 373 calls, including wrecks, fires, and EMS. Of those, 199 involved transport to the hospital and 38 of those were COVID-19 patients or had symptoms of COVID-19. Zagone said of those that the fire department knows of, twelve have since tested positive.
Zagone explained that first responders and EMTs will be wearing masks, goggles, gloves, and other PPE, and that procedures for responding to emergency calls include not entering homes if possible and asking questions to determine whether a patient is potentially COVID-19-positive.
“We’re gonna still take care of the citizens and guests of this city just like we always have, we’re just doing it in a little different manner now.”
Additionally, Zagone said the fire department was able to obtain antibody testing kits that will be tested on someone who is known to have had the coronavirus. The tests will be distributed to firefighters if it is determined to be useful in determining whether someone has had the virus and can be presumed to have at least short-term immunity.
Police Chief Shane McWilliams said their officers also also taking extra precautions to protect themselves and the public in the course of responding to calls. He asked that citizens don PPE if they have it when they are interacting with officers. McWilliams also confirmed that there are still no plans for a curfew in Bossier City.
While the police station loby is closed, McWilliams asked those with non-emergency to call and make an appointment if they have police business or need copies of offense reports. He said those who do have an emergency can show up and it will be handled as any other emergency.
Both firefighters and police officers in Bossier City have their temperature checked twice per shift and answer questionnaires about potential exposure of themselves and family members.
As of April 16, the Louisiana Department of Health was reporting 220 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths in Bossier Parish.