LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – According to Region 4 Medical Director Tina Stefanski, the response of Acadiana to the COVID-19 outbreak has not been enough to slow the spread.
The area is leading the state with Lake Charles and Baton Rouge in new cases and the rate of positivity when testing.
“It’s my professional responsibility to share information, and I feel a very strong obligation to make sure everyone has the information that they need,” Dr. Stefanski said Thursday while explaining how the Acadiana area is in a more dangerous place now than it has ever been.
The federal government aims for each community to have less than 10% coronavirus tests return positive, but for almost a month Acadiana has been above that goal and growing. The latest data as of July 16 shows 27% at the date of July 8.
“Over a fourth of the people who are tested in this community have a positive result and that’s considering we’re testing anyone,” Stefanski added.
The reason anyone is being tested is because up to 40% or almost half of people with COVID-19 are not showing symptoms. That coupled with a dangerous level of hospitalizations is why we’ve all been mandated to wear a mask when we can’t social distance.
Dr. Stefanski said hospitals can’t sustain the rate of infection. “We’re at the point now where someone depending on what the need is may be transferred outside of our region,” she said noting this is atypical for July.
Authorities ask even if we don’t feel sick to get tested to give a more accurate picture of how much the virus is in our community.
“There’s no excuse in this parish. If you haven’t been tested, go get tested, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory stated. Regarding percent positivity and testing he added, “Because it’s higher, we need to test even more.”
When asked if anyone should seek testing with the high positivity rate and asymptomatic spread, Stefanski answered, “If you’re asymptomatic, and you’re just curious, then yes. Go to these community-based testing sites. They’re there to help us identify what pockets of virus we have in our community.”
Region 4 Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski reached out to News 10 Thursday night to clarify who should seek testing and where saying,
Health officials are NOT asking everyone to be tested. I am concerned that people will contact their primary care providers and others for testing when not indicated. And, testing supplies are very limited.
We are working to expand community based testing sites to all who are symptomatic, asymptomatic but exposed, etc. This will help us to determine where our positive cases are and to give quarantine and isolation guidance in order to limit further spread.
However, we are working very hard to protect the limited testing supplies for outpatient clinics, urgent cares and primary care providers.Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region 4 Medical Director
The best thing you can do if you have the virus or not, if you feel sick or not, is wearing a mask.
“If you can’t wear a mask, or if you don’t want to wear a mask, or you don’t believe in wearing a mask, just stay home, Dr. Stefanski even said. “That’s frankly where we are.”
Testing has been extended at Cajun Field for the next 2-3 weeks according to Guillory and Stefanski. The government extended the resource due to the community’s need.