Louisiana News

Louisiana Gov. Edwards says ventilator need is critical

(The Center Square) – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration is trying to acquire 2,000 ventilators, which is currently the most urgent need as the state deals with the influx of COVID-19 patients.
Edwards said Louisiana is seeking ventilators from both federal and private sources, though it is competing with every other state for the limited supply. In the meantime, officials are retrofitting other types of breathing equipment so they can be used as ventilators, he said.
In the New Orleans area where the need is greatest, the supply could be exhausted shortly after April 1.
“We zero out the warehouse every day,” Edwards said. “To say the demand exceeds the supply would be a gross understatement.”
State officials also are considering using the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans as a “step-down” center for COVID-19 patients. State officials also are in discussions with medical boards and medical schools to get new graduates licensed more quickly to help alleviate the medical workforce crunch.
In a bit of good news, Louisiana will get 100,000 of the 10 million N95 medical masks that Apple says it will donate for the United States and Europe, Edwards said.
All of the efforts to deal with the medical crisis will be wasted if people don’t respect the governor’s “stay at home” order meant to reduce the number of people who get sick at once, he said.
“We have not begun to flatten the curve yet,” Edwards said. “We have a long way to go.”
As of Wednesday’s mid-day update, Louisiana had 1,795 reported cases of COVID-19 from 48 of the state’s 64 parishes, and 65 deaths.
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