BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards outlined preparations underway in New Orleans and around Louisiana Sunday in anticipation of a surge in the need for healthcare capacity due to the spread of COVID-19.
Edwards gave the update on the state’s response to the coronavirus after a walkthrough of the convention center Sunday afternoon with Mayor LaToya Cantrell. The convention center is being set to take on patient overflow from local hospitals. Edwards said they are working to stand up 1,000 beds there over the next week with the capacity to expand.
The governor also said the state is prepared to will surge additional capacity as needed in New Orleans or elsewhere as needed.
“It is my hope and my prayer that we will not need them,” Edwards said.
In addition to staging for extra beds convention center in New Orleans, Edwards noted work underway to expand ICU beds at hospitals around the state, including at LSU Oschner Health in Shreveport, where he said they will be adding 120 ICU beds over the next month.
State department of health figures show Louisiana now has 3,540 people known to be infected statewide, with nearly 151 residents dead from the coronavirus. 1,127 are hospitalized, more than a third of them on ventilators.
The number of new cases confirmed since Saturday increased by just 225, compared to the 569 confirmed Saturday, but Edwards warned that is no reason to think the spread of the virus is slowing.
“Understand that that was fewer tests that were administered, as well,” Edwards said. “We still have a great need to flatten the curve.”
More than 27,000 tests have been completed, all but about 3,000 of them by commercial labs.
One week into the ‘stay at home’ order issued March 22 that was set to continue until April 13, Edwards also noted that “a reassessment will be done as we get closer, but it may well have to be extended beyond April 13.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in Caddo Parish has risen to 219, reflecting an additional 30 confirmed since Saturday. In Bossier Parish, 11 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total to 56.
As of 12 p.m. Sunday, there were 320 cases and eight deaths reported across the following Northwest Louisiana Parishes:
- Caddo – 219 case(s) | 5 death(s)
- Bossier – 56 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- De Soto – 25 case(s) | 1 death(s)
- Webster – 9 case(s) | 1 death(s)
- Claiborne – 4 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- Bienville – 3 case(s) | 1 death(s)
- Natchitoches – 2 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- Red River – 1 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- Sabine – 1 case(s) | 0 death(s)
The coroner’s office confirmed two more deaths in Caddo Parish from the coronavirus Sunday night, bringing the total there to five. Red River and Sabine parishes have reported their first cases, with one each. They are among three of the most recent parishes to report their first cases, leaving just 5 parishes of the 64 statewide that have not yet reported any.