JBE Friday update: 69 deaths in the state had either diabetes or obesity

Virus Update
Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

The gist: COVID-19 numbers continue to rise around the state. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state saw a 19% increase in cases since yesterday with the current total 2,746 and 119 deaths. While the numbers are daunting, Edwards said, the state’s testing has improved, and as of now, Louisiana is one of the top five states for testing per capita.

“I’m looking for the day that my team comes to me and says, “We’ve flattened the curve,” the governor said. “If that doesn’t happen soon, we may not get to the same raw numbers as New York, but we will get to a place where we can become overwhelmed.”  

Complications: The state Department of Health’s Dr. Alexander Billioux said that 69 of the deaths so far in Louisiana had underlying conditions of either diabetes or obesity. And Billioux said those aren’t necessarily extremes cases of those two underlying conditions. 

Airline miles: Delta announced it will give a free flight to Louisiana for any medical professionals across the nation who wish to help the state in this battle; those healthcare professionals must be pre-credentialed to qualify. A similar call was made for volunteers within the state yesterday. 

Convention Center update: The state has started construction within the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to function as a step-down facility for patients who are still recovering from COVID-19, but may not need an ICU unit. The 500 hospital units sent down from the federal government will all be placed in the convention center, which is expected to eventually have 1,120 beds. 

“We will then staff that facility primarily through a staffing contract we are executing here at GOHSEP,” Edwards said. The state will also make accommodations to staff the facility with cleaning employees, food services and other essential needs. 

In other news from the Friday press conference: 

  • No positive cases among inmate population in jails or state prisons
  • No, roads are not closed 
  • The CDC did not warn Edwards or Billioux about the dangers of Mardi Gras