Tangipahoa Parish, La (WGNO)— Pontchatoula calls itself the Strawberry Capital of the World, but with a percent positivity over 19 per cent, the folks in Tangipahoa Parish are working to keep their families and themselves from this 4th COVID surge.
Paul Pevey’s family has run Paul’s Cafe in downtown Pontchatoula for generations. He’s also a volunteer firefighter who’s seen the virus attack his town first hand.
Pevey says, “I wished everyone had got the vaccine. It’s still America and I respect it being America but when we were children they eradicated polio by everybody getting the vaccine and I encourage people to get it.”
One issue is trying to convince more people that getting the shot can make a difference. Not everyone feels that way.
Wayne Spring of Albany stated, “I’ve been a year and a half with this COVID thing, I don’t mask, I haven’t taken the shot, I haven’t gotten sick. I won’t say it can’t happen. I’d really rather have the COVID and get a natural immunity which is about 7 times more effective than the vaccine immunity, from what I’m hearing.”
Only 30% of eligible Tangipahoa residents is fully vaccinated, and 39% have initiated their first shots. In Hammond at North Oaks, the major medical center in the parish 99 of their 200 staffed beds are COVID patients and their maxed out in ICU, but Parish President Robby Miller says they’re encouraged by the weekend numbers and they working to get shots in arms.
According to Miller, “The two numbers you just discussed, both are going in the right direction and it appears that we’re headed a little past the curve, we hope. We’ll continue to make sure that people know that there’s vaccines available, almost anywhere you want to go.”
The parish president’s message to Tangipahoa residents is simple, “To be smart and to be conscientious of our neighbors.”