JBE Thursday update: we’re on Italy’s track

Virus Update
Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

The gist: Gov. John Bel Edwards took a sobering look at Louisiana’s worst-case scenario for infections versus hospital beds and found that Louisiana could see an Italy-size problem in as little as seven to 10 days. 

“Our trajectory is basically the same as what they had in Italy. And if there is anything I’ve said today that ought to get people’s attention it is that,” he said. Today, Italy surpassed China in total number of deaths related to COVID-19. The country has taken dramatic steps to halt the disease’s advance.

What you need to know: National task force physician Dr. Deborah Birx identified Orleans Parish as one of the nation’s hotbeds in terms of the spreading of COVID-19.  In a call this morning with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other governors from around the nation, Edwards pleaded for assistance for the state.

What’s the game plan?: Edwards suggested that to expand hospital capacity, facilities could repurpose staff from elective procedures to assist with COVID-19.  State officials remain in strategy talks on how to staff refurbished hospitals that will come online. Edwards made one point clear: Unlike the natural disasters we usually face, we cannot go to other states for assistance. No cavalry will come riding in to save the day, he said.

Some good news: The Small Business Administration approved all 64 parishes of the state as eligible for low-interest disaster loans for up to $2 million for companies hurt by COVID-19. Edwards also announced that those with reduced hours or a lost job may now be eligible for Medicaid healthcare coverage. Check your status at Mymedicaid.la.gov. 

Call for help: The FDA will now allow the use of N95 masks for medical use. Edwards asked people who have extra N95 masks to please donate them asap for medical use. 

Once again for people in the back: With 380 confirmed cases in Louisiana, Edwards begged the public to listen to the instructions set out. If everyone acts as though they have the disease, the state will see a drop in cases sooner rather than later. Adhere to cautions set out, wash your hands, practice social distancing. Help #flattenthecurve.