LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) said their biggest concern to meeting the federal criteria for reopening the economy is the growing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths inside Acadiana nursing homes.
It’s no secret that many nursing homes across region four are struggling to keep coronavirus outside of their facilities,
But Monday LCG shared the rate is much worse than most the state is experiencing.
“There are some troubling statistics regarding fatalities in nursing homes.,” Mayor-President Josh Guillory stated at the beginning of his Monday press briefing.
While statewide, one-third of COVID-19 deaths originated inside nursing homes, over half of Acadiana’s fatalities are nursing home residents, specifically, 55%, or, as of Monday, 80 of Acadiana’s 147 deaths.
“Since the beginning, this virus has proven especially deadly to the elderly, and we are seeing this confirmed in Acadiana,” Guillory lamented.
There are 37 nursing homes in Acadiana, representing the most vulnerable of the population.
It’s the largest concern of his medical task force according to Guillory who said, “While we’re not seeing that in Lafayette Parish, thank God, our neighbors are.”
LCG Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle clarified, “You have to look at the full picture and where those clusters are, and where therein the problem lies, but no. We don’t believe that the other parishes are holding us back.”
What LCG does fear could hold us back is complacency, so leadership urges people to stay socially distant and when you can’t wear a mask, stating a quarter to a half of the people who contract coronavirus don’t show any symptoms.
“In other words, they don’t know they are contagious,” Guillory put it.
In response to this risk, the Louisiana Department of Health is stepping up protocols for personal-protective-equipment, testing, and regular site visits for all nursing home facilities and not just those with confirmed case clusters.
Guillory wanted everyone to realize, “This is a legitimate threat, and if you don’t know, just understand it is.”