As COVID-19 rates continue to shoot upward in Louisiana, St. Landry Parish officials are doing what they can to keep themselves and their communities safe.

Local health and civic leaders are urging residents to do what they can to protect against the coronavirus, including masking, getting the vaccine, and practicing good hygiene. According to Opelousas General Health President/CEO Kenneth Cochran, the hospital is at capacity. Dr. Cochran says employees at OGH's facilities are being stretched thin because of a statewide shortage of healthcare workers.

Parish President Jessie Bellard says if a stay-at-home order is put in place because of the current outbreak, only vaccinated parish workers will be allowed on the job.

Meanwhile, the St. Landry Parish School System is offering employees incentives to protect themselves against COVID-19. Faculty and staff members can receive payments for getting the COVID vaccine and for getting tested. We spoke with Jenkins about this program, masking in St. Landry Parish Schools, and how the latest outbreak will impact football season. That interview is below.

Louisiana Department of Health Regional Director Tina Stefanski says the percent positivity rate has jumped from less than one percent last month to 10.3 percent this month. Dr. Stefanski says one of the biggest problems facing health and government officials is dispelling rumors and falsehoods about the virus that are being spread online. Dr. Stefanski urges people to consult their doctors to learn more about the COVID vaccines and which one is right for you. Dr. Stefanski discusses these topics in the interview below.

Sunset Mayor Charles James says he and city leaders will do what they can to keep businesses running while keeping the town's residents safe. Charles discusses those plans and more in the interview below.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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