Emergency City Council, minister meetings held

DeQuincy Mayor Riley Smith and the DeQuincy City Council held an emergency meeting on Friday, Mar. 13 at 7 p.m. to discuss the COVID 19 virus. (Photo by Douglas DeViney, Sr.)

By Jeffra DeViney

(Editor’s Note: Information is ever changing and The News has attempted to give you the most current information as we go to print.)

Over the past week Mayor Riley Smith, Police Chief Casey Whitehead and other city officials have met to inform the public about the Coronavirus (COVID 19).

On Friday, Mar. 13, an Emergency City Council meeting was called and on Monday, Mar. 16, a local ministers meeting was held at DeQuincy City Hall.

Mayor Smith and Chief Whitehead wanted to advise the public what the city and parish is doing during these “uncertain times.” Mayor Smith indicated that due to a lot of fear mongering, it is best to remain calm and informed.

On Friday, the Center for Disease Control had mandated a 250 person count perimeter for events, then on Monday, the limit had changed to 50 persons and before the end of the ministers’ meeting after 2 p.m., the limit was changed by President Donald Trump to a 10 person limit.

Schools have been shut down for 30 days or longer, as well as events.

The reason for all the shut-downs is the virus spreads quickly. If people will shelter in place, it is hoped that the virus will not spike all at once, overwhelming our healthcare system.

The Mayor and Chief urged ministers to do what they thought was best for their congregations.

Mayor Smith advised that an entity could be assessed with liability since a National Emergency has been called and each insurance company is different concerning their own interpretation.

Chief Whitehead urged everyone to pass on the following website, www.ldh.la.gov, to get the most information in time about coronavirus (COVID 19). This information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Louisiana Office of Public Health will be updated twice daily at 9:30 a.m. and at 5:30 p.m.

Many of the ministers indicated they would be live broadcasting on their Facebook or website feeds. Some had not made up their minds as to how they would proceed.

One pastor urged to use common sense and used the analogy of standing on the train track. He said he knew that if he stood there, that a train would come and run him over. So given the information about the current situation, he did not want to put his congregation at risk or see any more caskets. Being responsible and informed, as well as guiding with leadership seemed to be a common thread in the room.

Social distancing, hand washing, not going out sick to contaminate others, having a plan, not shaking hands but elbow bumping were mentioned as measures to take.