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FRANKLINTON, La. (WGNO) — Mayor Gregory Route of Franklinton was frank in his assessment of the seriousness they currently face.

“Our people need to get vaccinated. That’s the main thing,” Route explained. “By getting vaccinated, that doesn’t exclude you from COVID because this Delta variant, it works whether you get vaccinated or not.”

Washington Parish has reported 500 new cases in the last 7 days. And even though the governor has ordered indoor masking, Route says he doesn’t want to force businesses down that track

Route explained, “Right now I don’t want to have to police these businesses for letting people come in unmasked.”

Peter Sullivan is the CEO of Riverside Medical Center and last week, he penned an open letter to the community in the local publication The Era-Leader pleading with locals to take mitigation measures to be safe.

“We’re one of the lowest vaccinated parishes in the state of Louisiana and we’re just trying to overcome some of the misinformation, some of the fears, some of the opposition that folk is have to getting vaccinated,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan’s staff at Riverside has seen up close the effects of COVID on non-vaccinated people, “Of the 17 that we have in the hospital today, none of them were vaccinated. And that’s been our experience over this past surge is about.”

Sullivan told us that they do offer the COVID vaccine at Riverside.

Mayor Route also stated that he hopes to gather church leaders to hold vaccine events in the community.