Numbers better, but SWLA residents urged to stay home and social distance

KPLC 7News at Six - VOD - clipped version

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh is encouraged by local numbers that suggest staying home and social distancing are working. At the Calcasieu COVID-19 briefing, she said the numbers are not as bad as expected. Still, she warns people not to become lax.

“If we decide to go back to where we were before this event started, we are very rapidly going to find ourselves in a situation where hospitals are overwhelmed,” she said.

She also discussed that those who die usually have underlying health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Still, she reminds people to call for help when they need it.

“I know it’s scary to think about going to the emergency room right now and we certainly don’t want anyone who doesn’t need to be in there to be going right now, in the midst of this pandemic. But for people who have emergency level conditions--who have severe chest pain, who have abdominal pain, who have symptoms compatible with a stroke, we don’t want people with severe things to not feel safe going to our ERs,” she said.

Cavenaugh says measures are in place for people to safely come in with non COVID-19 emergencies.

And finally, Cavanaugh reminds people lots of those who get COVID-19 recover.

"We need to follow social distancing at all times, but at the same time we don't need to stigmatize those people who are recovered. If anything, they need our support, because it's definitely a challenging disease."

Again, she says dial 211 which updates daily on issues of concern to the public.

United Way Executive Director Denise Durel urges people to try 211.

“You might be food insecure, because of reduced hours at work or you might be completely unemployed or but please call 211 because we have information related to where the feeding sites are in the community, where our food pantries are, and when they're open. If you now find yourself unable to pay your rent or your mortgage or your utility, there may be agencies out there that may be able to assist you with that,” said Durel.

Parks have stayed open, which have raised questions on whether officials are sending mixed signals to the public. But both CPSO Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory and Parish Administrator Bryan Beam say, “No!” as long as people maintain social distance.

“If you’re having a big crawfish boil at Prien Lake Park, with a bunch of people, law enforcement is probably going to go out there and shut you down. We gotta do our part,” said Guillory.

“We have no regrets about keeping these parks open. Dr. Cavanaugh has even echoed these comments. This is a good thing for people to get out as long as you obey those social distancing guidelines.” said Beam.

To listen to the entire briefing click here.

The next Calcasieu COVID-19 briefing is expected to be at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 16.

Copyright 2020 KPLC. All rights reserved.