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Caddo commissioner looking to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for parish employees

Caddo Parish Commission
Caddo Parish Commission(Caddo Parish Commission)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Caddo Parish Commissioner Roy Burrell is looking at making it mandatory for hundreds of parish employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are in a war to keep our people safe, out of the hospital, and from dying,” Burrell said. “I’ve lost enough friends. At some point, the politics are going to have to be put aside and you will have to do the job to which you were elected. I felt like I was elected as a public official to protect the public. If they don’t want to protect themselves, I still have that responsibility.”

Burrell is proposing the requirement in a resolution that will be discussed at the Caddo Commission’s work session on Monday, August 2 at 3:30 p.m.

“I’m constantly looking at national, state and local new,” Burrell said. “Last time I checked we were one of the worst in the nation in terms of COVID cases per capita. It has really kept me up at night just thinking about the fact that people for various reasons, whether it be political, if they are scared or what have you, are not taking this virus seriously.”

Louisiana reported over 5,000 additional COVID-19 cases on Friday. There are currently 1,740 patients were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, with the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reporting 162 of those hospitalized patients are on mechanical ventilators.

“We need to be hands on in trying to get something done,” Burrell said. “Even if it’s just a portion of the population we control, and we do control our employees. I do not control the public, but we do have the authority to provide some protection to not only the employees who are vaccinated, but for those who are not vaccinated who are running the risk of getting everyone, including themselves, infected. I feel like I have a responsibility there.”

Burrell says he has spoken to the other commissioners ahead of Monday’s meeting, but doesn’t know if his resolution will pass.

“People are filling up the hospitals,” Burrell said. “I have spoken to my doctor friends at several of our hospitals. Two weeks ago, their COVID units were empty. They are full today.”

Starting on Monday, August 2, per recommended CDC guidelines, Caddo Parish is requiring everyone wear face masks inside parish-owned facilities and offices.

This includes all parish buildings, all government chambers for Caddo Parish Commission activities, and the 8th floor of Government Plaza.

The mandate will remain in effect until further notice.

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