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Title: Baton Rouge region braces for coronavirus apex after recording deadliest day
Source: The Advocate
URL Source: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_r ... 80-11ea-984c-d35c5f54f14f.html
Published: Apr 6, 2020
Post Date: 2020-04-06 16:53:10 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 33

Baton Rouge region braces for Coronavirus
apex after recording deadliest day

The coronavirus killed more people in the Baton Rouge area in a 24-hour span than any previous day, according to state and local officials who say the worst is yet to come as Louisiana, too, saw record-breaking deaths Sunday across the state.

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rose to 656 in East Baton Rouge Parish on Sunday for third most in the state, while the number of deaths in the Capital region hit 54, new data from the Louisiana Department of Health shows.

East Baton Parish reported eight additional deaths, bringing the parish’s total to 22 as of Sunday afternoon, the most reported in a single day.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome exhorted residents to heed social distancing measures while echoing federal officials’ warnings that the coming week will likely be the deadliest since the pandemic gained a foothold in the U.S.

“We have to support each other during this season, and not allow ourselves to succumb to feelings of fear or hopelessness,” Broome said in a statement Sunday. “Things will likely get worse before they get better, but they will get better.”

68 new coronavirus deaths in Louisiana, marking biggest day-to-day jump; see Baton Rouge totals 68 new coronavirus deaths in Louisiana, marking biggest day-to-day jump; see Baton Rouge totals The nation's hardest-hit states, including Louisiana and New York, will see a surge in the number of cases and deaths in the coming week, federal officials said this weekend.

The human toll from the virus reached 477 deaths in Louisiana by Sunday — an increase of 68 — and, like the capital region, marked the largest single-day jump in fatal cases. An earlier record was set between April 2 and April 3.

Sunday's death tally in the Baton Rouge area was the largest single-day increase in at least a week when the region saw nine in one day. The number of deaths in the 12-parish region has nearly doubled since Thursday, according to state tallies.

East Baton Rouge Parish added 35 newly diagnosed coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 656 as of Sunday. It followed a steep one-day jump Saturday following a logjam of lab results reported to the state Health Department.

Ascension Parish had 11 deaths Sunday, up four from Saturday, while West Baton Rouge Parish had seven, up three from the day before, the state reported.

Nearly all of the fatal cases in Baton Rouge involved people with underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension or obesity, parish Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark said Sunday.

The respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, affects the lungs, and patients with underlying conditions are more vulnerable to severe and life- threatening symptoms, such as pneumonia.

"If you have those co-morbidities, you’re already at a disadvantage," Clark said.

The dangers of the coronavirus for older adults has been well-documented, as nearly the percentage of those 70 and older accounted for roughly 60% of Louisiana's deaths as of Sunday.

Clark said forecasts he’s reviewed estimate the peak of cases and deaths will arrive within the coming six to 10 days. He anticipates the region will see an even deadlier day when officials release new figures on Monday.

“As we enter what is going to be the surge, this is where you have to pay attention to social distancing,” he said. “This is crucial now.”

State leaders have for weeks stressed the need to reduce new cases, amid worries a large swell of patients would overwhelm the medical system's capacity, which could be further reduced if doctors and nurses also get sick.

Of the 1,803 patients hospitalized statewide, 561 are on ventilators. As the state continues to grapple with a low stock of ICU beds and ventilators, state officials announced Saturday that an additional 200 ventilators from the national stockpile will be sent to Louisiana.

More than half of the ventilators in the Baton Rouge region were in use Sunday and state figures noted 95 of hospitals’ 390 ICU beds were available.

The region doesn’t factor capacity in the eastern Florida Parishes, including Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and other parishes. In that region, 22 more ventilators have been added since Friday for any medical need as the number in use has fallen by four to 83.

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