Category: News + Notes

Bending over backwards: officials avoid punishing noncompliance of Louisiana’s coronavirus restrictions

When the governor said at Tuesday’s Covid press briefing that state inspectors had “bent over backwards” to help businesses comply with state-mandated restrictions, he wasn’t exaggerating. 

8 min read
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Category: News + Notes

Acadiana healthcare workers are exhausted from months of fighting a pandemic, misinformation and apathy

Pandemic fatigue for healthcare workers means exhaustion from months of long shifts, frustration at working uphill against a landslide of misinformation and fear that we’re giving up just as the end is in sight.

8 min read
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Solution Hub: New Orleans actively releases videos of police shootings. Is it paying off with trust?

Since 2016, the NOPD, at one time among the most brutal and corrupt police forces in the country, has quickly and proactively released camera footage of police shootings and other critical incidents. The logic of the policy is simple: The videos are there for clarity, and transparency is the cornerstone of building community trust.

11 min read
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Category: News + Notes

Coronavirus trends match up with the indicators of Lafayette’s summer surge

The gist: Following a predictable curve, a rapid spike in hospitalizations has followed a doubling in the number of tests coming back positive. Health officials are warning a third surge is imminent. 

3 min read

Acadiana reported 121 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday. That’s a 50% increase over the last week. The region had the third-most Covid hospitalizations, behind only the Shreveport and Monroe areas as of Tuesday. 

Official positivity for Lafayette Parish is above 10%. LDH reports positivity — the number of positive tests — on a lag. The most recent figures reflect the week of Nov. 5 through Nov. 11, and more than doubled the previous positivity report. 

The trends mirror the second surge that saw Acadiana and Lafayette lead the state. Increases in test volume and positivity preceded a dramatic increase in cases in June and July, followed by peak hospitalization of 304 and the deadliest period of the pandemic recorded for Lafayette Parish. Once again, urgent care centers in the area are beginning to see higher test volumes and higher positivity. 

“Based on the July surge, it was a good indicator of future Covid hospitalizations,” Oschner Lafayette General spokeswoman Patricia Parks Thompson says of the testing and positivity trends in the system’s network of urgent care clinics. “It also seems to be the case with what is highly suspected to become a third surge.”

Healthcare workers are beleaguered by months of pandemic ebbs and flows. Staffing remains a big problem, not physical capacity. Hospital reps have pushed back at the suggestion that the medical community has a facilities problem, made flippantly last week by Mayor-President Josh Guillory who has resisted enforcing the state’s current restrictions. 

Anxious. Overwhelmed. Sad. Numb. Local healthcare workers are telling us the predictable rise is taking its toll on them, even with upbeat news about the incoming prospects of a vaccine. With Thanksgiving around the corner, families are making difficult decisions about if and how to gather, echoing anxieties around Easter earlier in the pandemic. 

“Masks are all we have right now, and it is most effective if we all use them,” a frontline worker in healthcare administration wrote to us. “Healthcare providers face burn out and loss of income when we have surges. We are a vital part of the economy in Lafayette and need consideration when people want a thriving economy.” 

Are you a healthcare worker? Tell us how you’re feeling. What would you like Lafayette to know?

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Category: News + Notes

Council Preview 11/18: A tax break, a city marshal, and four empty directors’ chairs

The gist: After the torrid pace of recent months, the agendas for both of this week’s council meetings are relatively light. There are some big discussion items to watch: redevelopment of the old federal courthouse and filling long-vacant director positions. 

4 min read
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Category: News + Notes

Guillory leaves fighting Covid up to undermanned medical community and state authorities

The gist: Early signs of another surge are spurring warnings from health officials and the governor, who have renewed calls for Louisiana to take the pandemic seriously. But in Lafayette, Mayor-President Josh Guillory has stood down mitigation efforts, leaving undermanned state and health personnel to deal with the problem without local help. 

7 min read
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Category: Arts + Culture, News + Notes

Costs and the coronavirus could spur change of venue for Festival International in 2021

Festival staff members are sketching out alternatives that would allow the internationally acclaimed event to function in a socially distanced environment. That could even mean hosting Festival out of city limits or in scattered locations.

6 min read
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