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COVID-19 hospitalizations down overall statewide, but rising in Cenla

Alexandria and Monroe among areas seeing spike in hospitalizations
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 4:15 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Earlier this week Governor Edwards announced that Louisiana is showing early signs of a plateau in COVID-19 cases, with some good news for the state overall. “Basically over the last six days our hospitalizations have been flat and that’s the first time that that’s happened in a very long time,” said Governor Edwards. However, that’s not the case in Central Louisiana.

New data shows that hospitalizations in Region 6 have been rising since entering Phase II. “Region 6 is having some problems,” says Dr. David Holcombe, medical director for Region 6. In Thursday’s press conference, Governor Edwards said they are concerned about the rise in hospitalizations in the Monroe and Alexandria areas. One of the latest data graphs shows hospitalizations in Region 6 going up, putting a strain on local hospitals. “Their big problem is that they do have space but they don’t have staff,” says Dr. Holcombe.

The green line shows the rise in hospitalizations for region six.
The green line shows the rise in hospitalizations for region six.(Louisiana Department of Health)

This week multiple Cenla medical facilities partnered to release a letter asking for the community’s help in bringing the numbers down. The letter requests that people comply with the mask mandate and in maintaining social distancing. “Surgeries, problems, health problems that people had, and now they’re coming into hospitals to get that taken care of too,” added Dr. Holcombe, in reference to the rise in hospitalizations.

This week local hospitals published a letter asking for the public's assistance in combatting COVID-19 in Cenla.
This week local hospitals published a letter asking for the public's assistance in combatting COVID-19 in Cenla.(CHRISTUS)

Governor Edwards said this week that people should consider the mask mandate “the new normal” and that we shouldn’t expect to see it end anytime soon. The black dotted line on another chart shows that cases do appear to be going down in Region 6 since the mask mandate was implemented, but Dr. Holcombe says it’s too soon to ease up on precautions while hospitalizations continue rising. “We don’t really have the documentation yet because there’s a lag time.”

The “Geaux Get Tested” testing blitz continues at the Rapides Parish Coliseum through next Wednesday, August 5. There are testing hours every day but Sunday until then. Dr. Holcombe is encouraging school staff to get tested before classes start, and for parents to bring their kids to get tested before going back to school.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.

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