The latest on the spread of coronavirus in New Orleans and across Louisiana today, April 1.
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The growing number of COVID-19 patients needing ventilators in Louisiana is far outpacing the state’s ability to get the equipment from national supply chains.
About 30 percent of those hospitalized for the disease are critically ill and will need to be intubated to have a chance of survival. On Wednesday afternoon, the total number jumped to 490. Based on current modeling projections, the state will run out of ventilators — approximately 2,000 in total — by April 6.
Gov. John Bel Edwards recently put out bids for 14,000 ventilators from different contractors, including a request for 5,000 devices from the national stockpile. The feds agreed to send 150 of the 5,000, which were received today.
Given the uptick in cases, the shipment will only buy the state a couple of days before supplies run out.
Because of high demand, the price for ventilators has been surging and states have been bidding against each other and against the federal government in a process the governor compared to an eBay auction.
Gov. Edwards said he hopes the federal government will send more ventilators to Louisiana, given the state’s severe need, and he acknowledged the direness of the current shortage.
“People will die because they can’t receive the care they will need,” he said.
Pharmaceutical company Amneal donated 400,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine to the State of Louisiana this week.
It’s a drug typically used to treat malaria, but there is hope among some scientists and doctors that it could be used to treat patients with COVID-19.
The Louisiana State University School of Medicine will use some of those pills in a clinical trial to further study the drug. We spoke about the study with Dr. Steve Nelson, dean of LSU’s School of Medicine in New Orleans.
A second person held at the federal prison in Oakland, Louisiana has died of COVID-19.
The inmate has not been identified by the Bureau of Prisons, which confirmed the death. New Orleans Public Radio learned of the death from staff at the facility.
It’s the second death of an inmate from COVID-19 across all federal prisons, and the second death at Federal Correctional Institute Oakland, which is seeing rampant spread of the virus.
Thirty-four more people have died of COVID-19 in Louisiana and another 1,187 have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the latest report from the Louisiana Department of Health.
In all, 273 people have died and 6,424 have been confirmed sick.
There are 1,498 people in hospitals with COVID-19 and 490 of them are on ventilators.
The state lab has completed 3,698 tests. Commercial labs have completed 42,078 tests.
There are 2,270 known cases in Orleans Parish, where 115 people have died. Jefferson Parish has 1,433 cases and 64 people have died there.
In Caddo Parish: 298 cases and seven deaths.
In St. Tammany Parish: 270 cases and six deaths.
East Baton Rouge: 244 cases and 10 deaths.
There are COVID-19 clusters in 40 long-term care facilities across Louisiana, the state health department reports. That's 12 more than since the department first reported a count of these clusters Monday.
There are 436 nursing homes and adult residential care facilities in Louisiana, according to LDH.
A cluster is defined as two or more cases that appear to be connected.
Twenty of the facilities with clusters are in Region 1 — the New Orleans area. Six are in Region 2 (Baton Rouge area), four are in Region 3 (River and Bayou parishes), one is in Region 6 (central Louisiana), three are in Region 7 (northwest Louisiana) and six are in Region 9 (Florida parishes).
You can review the full list of affected facilities here.
Record numbers of laid-off workers across Louisiana are waiting for badly needed assistance while the state struggles to process hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims. Their lives have been doubly disrupted under quarantine and financial strain.
Overnight, the coronavirus put Jaimee Greenleaf out of work and shut down her two-year-old son’s daycare center. Now Jaimee and Jake are hunkered down following the statewide stay-at-home mandate. But snacks and cartoons aren’t enough to keep Jake from getting restless.
“Having my son, I probably quarantine myself more than most people because I’m his sole provider. If something happens to me, it’s done. That’s terrifying to me,” Jaimée said.
Jaimee is one of tens of thousands of recently unemployed workers in New Orleans who are dealing with the pandemic and joblessness. Before the coronavirus closed New Orleans businesses, Jaimee made money shucking oysters, waitressing, bar-tending, doing whatever service industry gigs she could get to support her family of two. Now, she doesn’t know how she’s going to make ends meet.
“I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. I only check the news once a day, so that I don’t panic. Because we’re only at the beginning,” she said.