SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Hospital officials joined Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins Monday to plead with residents of Shreveport-Bossier to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday safely and do their part to protect the community and healthcare workers in an effort to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.
“We’ve seen that on holiday weekends or on holidays, that the numbers go up and that’s something that we absolutely cannot afford at this point, so we have to remain vigilant,” Perkins said.
“Shreveport and Caddo Parish, if you look at the numbers, we are in a unique position. If you look at the numbers around the state right now, our numbers are going up, but when we plateaued, we actually plateaued at a higher degree then what we saw in Baton Rouge and what we saw in New Orleans, so our healthcare systems are being stressed in a way that we haven’t seen since earlier this year.”
Louisiana Region 7 Hospital Preparedness Coordinator Knox Andress said the region’s hospitalizations “are increasing on a steady and almost daily basis,” noting that the first peak in Northwest Louisiana was on May 10 with 224 COVID hospitalizations, which peaked again on July 23, when there were 299 COVID patients hospitalized in the region.
“Today, November the 23rd, you would see that we have 223 COVID hospitalizations. This is our third peak and the numbers are continuing to rise. We need to stop that. We need to stop that now. Our request for you is to do the heroic thing. You know, back in the springtime, there was a lot of publicity about hospitals and first responders being the heroes. Well actually, the heroes are you at home. We need you to do the heroic thing, for your family, for your friends, for your neighbors, for your communities. You need to celebrate the holidays responsibly.”
“Please follow the science, please minimize your social gatherings, maintain your social distancing, wear masks, and wash your hands,” Andress added. “Please take the load off your hospital system. This is important.”
Willis Knighton Health System Chief Administrative Officer Mark Crawford cited statistics showing that Northwest Louisiana, particularly the Shreveport-Bossier area, is bearing the burden of COVID patients in the state.
“Just last week, Shreveport-Bossier had 183 in-patients for COVID-19. New Orleans and the Northshore had 100 patients. Monroe area with 86, and Baton Rouge was 64, so as the mayor talked about, our area specifically, our area is more than just a hot spot, we’re an ultra hotspot. And so we’re asking you to be diligent over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to protect healthcare workers as much as possible.”
In an effort to drive the point home, Crawford told of a local family that that gathered for a child’s birthday party.
“Just two or three weeks ago, we had a family, came into our Willis Knighton Bossier site who had all been at a birthday gathering approximately two weeks earlier of about 30 members of that family. I had 19 people in that gathering come down with COVID and unfortunately, two of the grandparents at a grandchild’s birthday party did not survive. Those are the things that we’re talking about. The vaccine that’s on the horizon is just that, it’s on the horizon, we are still a good ways away from being out of the woods on this issue.”
The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Louisiana passed the 1,000-mark Monday, reaching its highest point since August, according to the latest update from the Louisiana Department of Health.
As of Sunday, the latest hospitalization data available, there were 1,012 patients in hospitals statewide due to the coronavirus, with 114 on ventilators. The last time hospitalizations exceeded 1,000 was August 21, when there were 1,051 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds statewide.
Hospitalizations reported in Northwest Louisiana also spiked to their highest level since August on Thursday at 238, dropping to 217 as of Saturday, with 19 patients on ventilators. According to LDH data, just over 23% of the region’s hospital beds are available and ICU beds in Region 7 are currently at 80% capacity.
Check out the entire press conference below.