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Impact of coronavirus could outpace hospitals, Governor warns

“If we are not going to look like Italy in about ten days or two weeks, it’ll only be because of these mitigation measures."

NEW ORLEANS — There’s a scenario playing out in Southeast Louisiana which Governor Jon Bel Edwards says is shaping up to be the worst case. 

“This is a very, very serious situation and I know that’s a sobering analysis,” Edwards said. 

Without help from the federal government and folks being proactive, Edwards says that analysis shows the spread and impact of coronavirus is beginning to outpace the healthcare capacity in the New Orleans area in seven to 10 days. 

“When you talk about medical surge and your capacity, you have to have the beds, the equipment, you have to have the staff,” Edwards said.

Locally, hospitals are working to try and increase capacity internally.  

“We are thinking about how we can expand the number of available beds,” Dr Benjamin Springgate with LSU Health said. 

Dr. Springgate says another concern is the number of available ventilators which are used for coronavirus patients and other patients in general. 

“The ventilator helps breathe for them so that they can focus their body energy on fighting of the infection, on staying alive,” Springgate said.

With ventilators in high demand across the country, both the governor and Dr. Springgate say if people follow guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus, they hope there will be enough ventilators to treat patients in need. 

“Everyone needs to take responsibility at this point and put in their own independent effort to minimize spread so we don’t end up with a shortage of ventilators in our communities and in our hospitals,” Springgate said. 

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If people don’t follow those mitigation guidelines, Gov. Edwards says the state is on a path to become just like Italy. 

“If we are not going to look like Italy in about ten days or two weeks, it’ll only be because of these mitigation measures. It’ll only be because of these mitigation  measures,” Edwards said

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