Lafayette Parish sees surge in COVID-19 stats; multiple cases discovered at Borden Dairy facility
LAFAYETTE - As Louisiana prepares to enter Phase 2 of its reopening process, some parishes are still struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks.
According to The Advocate, multiple employees at the Borden Dairy processing facility in Lafayette have tested positive for the virus within the past seven days.
A Borden spokeswoman said an employee notified his or her supervisor on May 21 that they did not feel well and wanted to get tested for coronavirus. The result came back positive on May 25, and the facility was then temporarily shut down for sanitation.
The “vast majority” of the 150 employees at the facility then received free rapid tests through May 27, with some returning positive, said the spokeswoman, Adrienne Chance. She said the company is not disclosing how many employees tested positive. Every employee at the facility has since been tested, along with delivery drivers and other workers who may have been exposed, she said.
The facility had not previously shut down during the coronavirus crisis. It is currently operating with “temperature checking for all upon arrival at the plant, mask wearing, social distancing and numerous other safety measures,” the company said in a statement. Those measures were in place before the first employee tested positive, Chance said.
The outbreak at Borden parallels a significant uptick in the number of infected individuals in Lafayette Parish.
But health officials say this outbreak is different from the multiple cases of COVID-19 recently discovered at crawfish processing plants in Acadia Parish.
Individuals infected at the crawfish plants spread COVID-19 to each other due to living in close quarters.
Tina Stefanski the Louisiana Department of Health administrator in the Acadiana region says the recent increase in virus cases seen in Lafayette Parish is due to community spread, and not to individuals within a few hotspots spreading the virus to each other.
“The large driver of this increase is not congregant settings," Stefanski said of the Lafayette Parish cases. "The biggest driver to the increase is outpatient, or community spread.”
Stefanski said it's too early to tell if the recent increases represent a sustained trend.
“We don’t want to make any big statements based on a couple days of data. It’s definitely a trend we will continue to watch,” Stefanski said.
With 25 new cases reported on Monday, there have now been 119 new cases in Lafayette Parish over the past seven days.
These statistics mark the highest seven-day rolling average in Lafayette since April 8.
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