Sheriff Stassi back home after bout with COVID-19

Staff Report

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi has followed COVID-19 recommendations and urged residents to do the same, but last week he learned firsthand the effect of the coronavirus.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi returned home Monday after a five-day stay in a Baton Rouge hospital, where he underwent treatment for COVID-19.

He returned home Monday after a five-day stay in a Baton Rouge hospital, where he underwent treatment for COVID-19 after a diagnosis that caught him by surprise.

“I’m so glad to be home … this was one of the best trips home ever,” Stassi told Post/South on Monday night. “I’m feeling a lot better. I had a good meal tonight, and I’m resting up.”

He was admitted to Baton Rouge General Medical Center for treatment just five days after his 59th birthday.

“I didn’t get to celebrate too much,” said Stassi, whose third term in office began July 1.

The symptoms began after he returned from a doctor’s office, where he underwent treatment for a kidney stone.

“I wore my mask, but I was around a lot of people in the waiting area,” Stassi said. “Even so, I don’t know exactly where I got it.”

He had remained home a couple of days after the kidney stone treatment, but then had trouble breathing.

The breathing issues only worsened.

“That’s when I knew it was time to go (to the hospital,” Stassi said.

Stassi was given five liters of oxygen while at BRGMC. It was maximum amount oxygen allowed for a hospital room patient without requiring a transfer to the intensive care unit.

He was not on a ventilator at any time during his stay.

Stassi said he had followed the mandates issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards, who based those guidelines on recommendations from the CDC and the White House.

He urged all residents not to dismiss the recommendations put in place by the Louisiana Department of Health and Gov. Edwards.

“I want people to understand this is a serious thing, and it might not affect everyone the same,” Stassi said. “We have a bunch of people who have severe cases, but then you have others who just run fevers and then you have some who have no symptoms at all – nothing is the same.

“People need to follow the mandates, including social distancing and the mask, and they just need to be careful … this is nothing to play with.”

He thanked the BRGMC-Bluebonnet doctors and nurses for the care they gave him during his stay.

It also showed him firsthand how much more healthcare professionals have learned about COVID-19.

“We’re only five months into this, and they’ve learned a lot about how to take care of people better,” Stassi said.

Stassi will spend the remainder of the week in quarantine before he returns to work.

“Everything in the office is going well,” he said.

His time in hospital care came at the same time of hospitalization for his father Ralph Stassi, a longtime law enforcement officer with the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office who later served three terms on the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen. The elder Stassi’s stay was not related to coronavirus.

It also meant the second postponement of the wedding for his daughter, Caroline Antoinette Stassi. The first wedding date was moved because of the shelter-in-place order, and now they will schedule the event a third time.

“Hopefully the third time will be the charm,” he said.