Since Louisiana shifted into Phase II of its reopening plan in the fight against COVID-19  a lot more people have been getting out and about. That newfound freedom from mostly self-imposed isolation is certainly cause for concern if you ask officials with Louisiana's Department of Public Health.

The past several days have shown an increase in COVID-19 cases in Lafayette Parish. Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory issued a statement yesterday that addressed those increases and he offered a reason why the numbers appear to be growing.

Here's Guillory's statement:

Over the past week, our parish has reported a significant increase in COVID-19 cases. Yesterday, I raised concerns with our Medical Task Force about this issue. Dr. Stefanski and the members of the team are in agreement that we are seeing significantly more cases because the level of testing in our parish has increased substantially in recent weeks. The rate of positive cases reported remains relatively stable. I am grateful for their guidance and insight on this question. Our vigilance and diligence in social distancing and observing proper hygiene are still just as important to stop the spread of the virus. Personal responsibility remains the most effective tool in combating this public health emergency. The solution begins with me and you.

Dr. Tina Stefanski with the Office of Public Health told KATC Television that the increase in cases is tied to behavior.

We clearly have community spread in Lafayette, no matter what numbers you look at, they're increasing, and they're worrisome. It's got to be tied to behavior. We didn't see these numbers when we were isolated.

Dr. Stefanski cautioned residents to not focus on a particular number or statistic when information about the pandemic is released. Currently, positivity rates are being re-run and the state has reported issues with some of the data surrounding the disease and those who have been affected by it.

Dr. Stefanski suggested in her comments that as more data is delivered over the next several days and weeks better judgments can be made about the trajectory and trends of the disease in the state. Currently, the state is in Phase II of the pandemic recovery plan and there is hope we could be cleared to enter Phase III late next week.

State and federal officials still say the best way we can move forward through this health crisis is to continue best practices outlined when the state was shut down by the virus back in March. Among those practices are wearing a mask when you're around people you don't live with, continue the practice of social distancing, and of course continue to wash and sanitize hands often.


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