As Omicron spreads, testing ramps up in Jefferson Parish


Jefferson Parish, La.— In the wake of last weekend’s holiday gatherings, the Omicron variant of coronavirus has gripped the area.

According to Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng, “We’re back on a mask mandate in the buildings. I do this so that when, um, we just don’t want our workforce to be sick or have to quarantine because that puts a real strain on us being able to deliver the services that we need to deliver to this community.”

A mask mandate is but one of the steps the Parish President is taking to combat COVID in the parish and for good reason.

Lee Sheng stated, “We’re 21% positivity right now and what we saw was in mid-December our numbers started going up.”

Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng (WGNO-TV)

The parish has also opened an additional testing site at the Bonnabel Boat launch which accommodated hundreds of cars this morning. Over at the Alario Center, there were also hundreds in line for testing and the wait times were long.

Waggaman Resident Bobby Guillot said, “We’ve been out here since 8 o’clock this morning and it’s 11…almost 4 1/2 hours.”

The folks in charge at Alario say they will serve over 1,000 cars and while some are seeking tests to travel, there’s also, unfortunately, lots of infection.

Sgt. Jene Simmons of the Louisiana National Guard stated, “A lot of people are sick… a lot of people are sick.”

Waggaman Resident Linda Guillot is convinced she caught COVID at a local store, “One of the clerks told me she was feeling bad and then now I have it.”

With the New Year’s weekend on the horizon, the parish president is hoping that celebrations are done in as safe a manner as possible.

“It been a long time and we’re humans, we need the connection as well, but you can do it smart and you can do it in a way that recognizes where we are as a community with COVID,” said Lee Sheng.

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