COVID count now at 96

Warden says Laborde Correctional not major cause of recent increase in cases

Avoyelles Parish has had a total number of 96 positive tests for COVID-19 since the virus first surfaced here in March, according to state records released at noon today (Wednesday). That is two more than Tuesday. The number of deaths remained at 9 in the last report.

Raymond Laborde Correctional Center Warden Rodney Slade said recent comments attributing the parish's recent increase in COVID numbers to the state prison in Cottonport are incorrect. He said the center has had 10 inmates test positive for COVID-19 since March, with only three of those in the past week. The prison has had several employees test positive for COVID-19, most notably Warden Sandy McCain and Medical Director Dr. Casey McVea, who both died of the disease in April. Slade said many of the employees who contracted the disease live in Rapides or other neighboring parishes and would not be counted in Avoyelles' COVID numbers.

The state Department of Health has attempted to report the number of cases reported in various areas of the parish, but that total does not account for the 96 being reported. In that report, the state shows 26 cases in Marksville and 15 in the Evergreen-Moreauville-Cottonport area. All other areas of the parish are showing five or less cases, with no cases shown in Fifth Ward, Bordelonville-Big Bend and Ward 1 areas. The state notes in that report that "only cases of persons testing positive for COVID-19 with accurate and complete address information are matched to tracts and counted" in the by-area numbers.

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