Hospital capacity concerns grow as COVID-19 cases increase

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33/FOX 44) – Medical experts say if the cases continue to increase in East Baton Rouge Parish, our hospitals will be overwhelmed once again.

“Can one person make a difference? Yes,” said Dr. Dawn Marcelle with the Louisiana Department of Health.

Medical exerts talked about COVID-19 cases in East Baton Rouge Parish on Friday with Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. The Parish is seeing a resurgence of the virus, similar to numbers in March.

“The patients we admitted in the last week, they got it from people who feel well with this virus,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal with Our Lady of the Lake.

East Baton Rouge Parish has seen 326 new cases this week. Experts say it’s from people not wearing a mask or face covering when they are out. They also say some businesses are not following the state reopening guidelines. That’s why the mayor’s office has started a hotline to report businesses anonymously.

“If we get repeat offenders, then I will take additonal action within my power. Certainly engaing the state fire marshal and make a decision in terms of whether that business should remain open,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Other parts of the state with colleges are also seeing an increase in cases, but they don’t have the major medical centers Baton Rouge does. Doctors say if the current trend continues, it could cause problems.

Dr. O’Neal explained, “If we have to support the rest of the state as they have COVID-19 activity, but do not have the ICU capability, we don’t have enough beds in the state to support the entire state having a surge at the same time.”

Mayor-President Broome said she will not enforce people wearing a mask in public, but is leaving her options open and will revisit the idea if the case numbers don’t improve.

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