The Caddo Parish Pandemic Task Force Committee took another bite of the apple in trying to get a staff policy recommendation on coronavirus infection control from the parish administration of Caddo and the human resources department in light of the increase in delta variant cases.
The committee, at its Wednesday meeting, approved legislation to bring back a resolution to the full committee authorizing administration and human resources to develop an interim / emergency infection control policy for parish employees.
During its last regular session, the committee agreed to send back to committee an amended version of a resolution presented by Caddo Parish Commissioner Roy Burrell, demanding that all Caddo Parish employees be vaccinated against coronavirus or withdraw from weekly testing.
It remains to be seen exactly what the administration and human resources will offer.
Caddo Parish Commissioner Ken Epperson said Wednesday that based on staff policies and procedures, it is the administration’s responsibility to make those recommendations.
âI hope with all my heart that they will do it in the quickest way, realizing the situation we are facing in this pandemic,â Epperson said. “Each day that we neglect to try to do something to lessen the spread of this dreaded disease simply allows it to take full control of our people.”
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The motion to submit the legislation to the full committee, only tasks administration and human resources with developing a comprehensive policy and does not force anyone to do anything, said the committee chairman, the commissioner of Caddo Parish, Steven Jackson.
Vaccination requirements, masking, testing policies
âOne of the things that I would like them to consider is to look at the requirements for vaccination and an option of withdrawal, masking, testing and also education,â Jackson said.
A new policy was instituted recently that all employees must wear a mask, whether vaccinated or not, and must also socially distance themselves, Caddo Parish Administrator Dr Woodrow Wilson told the committee.
Wilson added that 180 of the 350 employees were surveyed before the resolution before the full commission and that 56% of all employees surveyed were fully immunized.
The seats in the Government Plaza room have been blocked again, having recently been opened to capacity.
Other security measures are under consideration as most measures have been in place since March of last year, Wilson added.
Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Taliaferro is also on the task force and opposes legislation on staff policy recommendations.
“I agree with Dr Wilson and agree that we are doing all we can by encouraging people to do social distancing and masking, unless they demand or suggest that they get vaccinated,” said Taliaferro.
Unless they close Shreveport Town Hall, Taliaferro believes they are already doing all they can to make sure people are able to do their business and work in a safe and secure environment.
When it comes to the education component, it seems like the only thing people get is the mask, the vaccines, Taliaferro said.
âI have not seen any information on possible and approved alternatives to be given to our citizens on how they can strengthen their immune systems. There are things available that they can take to minimize their symptoms or treat COVID as well. I just want to make sure that if we want to disseminate information, we do our homework and get as much information as possible.
Caddo Parish Emergency Rental Assistance Program
In other cases, Wilson has provided an update on the emergency rental assistance program, saying that to date the parish attorney’s office has extended contract offers with three attorneys for maintain an office within the parish, one agreed.
The names of the attorneys who are contracted will be placed on the ERAP website as attorneys to seek help dealing with evictions due to overdue rent, Wilson said.
Further steps will need to be taken to determine eligibility for legal counsel.
About 80 percent of those on the eviction file had not requested rental assistance, according to Commissioner Jackson who urged Dr Wilson to expand their advertising and communication efforts regarding rental assistance. and how to contact lawyers.
As to where things stand with the additional rent assistance funding the parish expects from the state, Hayley Barnett, Caddo Parish finance director, told the committee that to date the office Community Development Department approved the first funding request and these funds are expected to be received in about five days.
Applications for rent assistance that were on the waiting list are now withdrawn, Barnett said.
âAs of (Wednesday) morning, we have 5,917 applications, of which 761 have not yet been withdrawn. We shot 500 on Wednesday morning. So we still have a great interest in the program and we always get a lot of applicants.