COVID-19 hospitalizations increasing statewide, some Louisiana hospitals at capacity

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FILE – In this Monday, April 20, 2020 file photo, emergency room doctors and nurses wear personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study which found hospital emergency room visits from chest pain and heart attacks fell early this spring, further confirming experts’ fears that U.S. coronavirus outbreaks scared away many heart patients from going to ERs who should have gone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU) — A Louisiana public health official said Monday the biggest coronavirus emergency in the state right now is how many people are being treated in hospitals.

Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health, said there has been a sharp increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“We are in the thick of it again, unfortunately right now, and if we don’t turn this around right now, we’re going to be in big, big trouble,” Kanter said.

LDH reported 1,508 hospitalizations on Monday, which is 200 more than a week ago, according to the department.

Kanter said hospitalizations have nearly tripled in Louisiana since mid-June.

He said a number of hospitals in the state are full, with some hospitals in Lake Charles and Lafayette having to transfer coronavirus patients to New Orleans for treatment.

“So that’s the big challenge of the day is trying to make sure that everyone can get acute care in a hospital when they need it,” said Kanter. ” It’s a challenge and it’s also a marker of how much this outbreak is affecting the state right now.”

According to Kanter, Monday’s number of new coronavirus cases includes about 1,500 test results backlogged from as far back as May.

He said even taking out those backlogged tests, coronavirus is still spreading at a fast pace with an infection rate per capita similar to Texas.

By: Jennifer Crockett

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