SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — “If we’re willing to give each other the shirts off our backs, why are we not willing to put a mask over our face?”
That query was posed during a news conference Monday afternoon by Dr. Martha Whyte, the state health director for Northwest Louisiana.
The U.S. has entered the third wave of COVID-19, according to Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins. “We’ve seen that on holiday weekends, the numbers go up; and that is not something we can afford at this point.”
Three days ahead of Thanksgiving, Perkins said he is encouraging people to think of others ahead of themselves. “When you think about it, the holidays are about giving.
“I’m asking everybody to remain vigilant.” the mayor said. “Do what you can to keep yourself safe, your community safe and you will be giving protection to those around you. You’ll be giving a healthy environment to those around you. And you’ll be giving life to those around you.”
COVID-19 cases in the U.S. spiked in May, July and November, according to Knox Andress, regional hospital preparedness coordinator. “Please take the load off our health systems.”
Leaders from Ochsner LSU Health, Willis-Knighton Health System and Overton Brooks VA Medical Center all stressed the impacts these cases have had on their hospitals.
“As they bring it back to the hospital, we’ve had to close down certain areas because other employees have contracted it from them,” said Dr. Sevetri Moore-Guillaume, chief of medical staff for the VA hospital.
There is some good news: COVID-19 hospitalizations are not as high as they were earlier on in the pandemic, and mortality rates are down by half, according to Brian Crawford, senior vice president for Willis-Knighton.
However, as cases increase, North Louisiana is maintaining higher positivity rates compared to other parts of the state.
“North Louisiana is carrying the load of this surge as far as COVID patients in the rest of the state,” Crawford said.
He also emphasized the importance of going to the emergency room only when it is absolutely necessary.
“In our ER today, I have 10 patients in holding in Bossier facilities that are over capacity right now that I don’t have beds for, because of the influx of COVID patients and those chronic patients this time of year.
“So what I would ask you do is, unless it’s a true emergency, go to a quick care facility or one of the urgent care facilities in the region.”
Perkins said people should not depend on the idea of a vaccine. “It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, and the tunnel is quite long at this point.”
Whyte said a vaccine likely will be unavailable to the general public for months.