Parish Government announced the closure of all bars in West Baton Rouge Parish yesterday in accordance with the Gov. John Bel Edwards' proclamation for all parishes in Phase Three. Parish President Riley "PeeWee" Berthelot said he received a letter from the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control yesterday mandating the closure of bar rooms due to high positivity rates.
Under the Phase Three guidelines, bars must be closed for on premises consumption if a parish's positivity rate is above 10% for two consecutive weeks.
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported a 13% positivity rate for Oct. 29 -Nov. 4 followed by a 10.1% positivity rate from Nov. 5 - 11.
Bars may not reopen for onsite consumption unless and until the percent positivity decreases to 5% or less for two consecutive weeks.
More than 20 parish employees are currently out after either testing positive for coronavirus or quarantining due to potential exposure. Earlier this month, the Parish Utility Department was forced to go to drive-thru only for a week due to a number of employees affected by the coronavirus.
"We're working shorthanded in a lot of the departments because of this," Berthelot said. "We're seeing the spike in our parish and in our own office."
Ochsner hosted two community testing sites at the Addis Community Center this month with additional testing sites likely in the future.
West Baton Rouge Parish saw its second-largest spike in new daily coronavirus cases on Friday, Nov. 13. LDH reported 41 new confirmed cases Friday - one confirmed case shy of the 42 new daily cases, which set the parish’s record on Aug, 2.
West Baton Rouge has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks. The percent positivity rate jumped from 5.5% the week of Oct. 22 - 28 to 13.1% the week of Oct. 29 - Nov. 4.
Yesterday, LDH reported an additional 15 new cases of coronavirus in West Baton Rouge. No resident of West Baton Rouge has died of COVID-19 since Oct. 2.