A group made up of various Calcasieu Parish elected officials released a statement on Friday, urging the public and employees at area businesses to wear masks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The statement by the Calcasieu Parish Executive Policy Group mentioned medical workers experiencing strain from the recent "steep rise in COVID-19 cases" in Southwest Louisiana.
Calcasieu reported 148 new cases on Friday, according to the state Department of Health.
"It has never been more important for citizens to use caution, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and wear face masks," the statement reads.
Police Jury President Tony Guillory said local officials don't want the COVID-19 case numbers to reach a point where a mandatory face mask rule has to be implemented. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made it mandatory for residents in most counties statewide to wear masks in public, starting on Friday.
"I can't stress how important (mask wearing) is because the numbers are increasing by the day," Guillory said.
The frequency of masks worn in public places can sometimes differ, according to Guillory.
"There are some places where everyone is wearing them," he said. "Others have their mask down below their chin or no mask at all. We're not going to slow (the spread) down without people wearing their masks."
The executive policy group is made up of the Police Jury, the sheriff and mayors of Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, Vinton, DeQuincy and Iowa.