LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Earlier this week, Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said she supported Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to keep Louisiana in Phase II of reopening.
On Wednesday, she joined the governor for his COVID-19 briefing in Baton Rouge to address the state amid an increase in cases.
“Now is not the time to freak out because the cases are increasing,” Cavanaugh said. “But it is the time to really get serious about evaluating our personal behaviors.”
Cavanaugh addressed what she’s seeing in our area and gave input on how the state as a whole can better fight against the virus.
Region 5 covers the five-parish area of Calcasieu, Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, and Jeff Davis.
Dr. Cavanaugh said demands for testing in Southwest Louisiana have grown substantially.
“Our mobile testing site that is doing testing, tested the most people that we’ve ever tested throughout this entire event yesterday,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.
Concerns about the virus have increased in the community, with much still left to learn from testing.
“PCR testing, which is the nasal swab, is the way that we know if we have COVID right now,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “Although antibody testing is out and available in the community, I’ve seen cases where people think they get an antibody test and that means it’s okay to go out because they think that they’re negative and they’re good, and that’s not really how antibody testing is interpreted.”
Over the past week in Southwest Louisiana, a series of businesses voluntary closed because of concerns about the rise in cases – either in their staff or just in the community. Dr. Cavanaugh said she’s proud of the community recognizing where we are in terms of cases in Southwest Louisiana and making those difficult decisions while the community tries to recover from the virus.
Governor Edwards touched on age groups, particularly the 18- to 29-year-old age group, which has had the biggest increase in cases in Louisiana.
Dr. Cavanaugh said she’s taken care of many young people who thought they were invincible who still wound up in critical care or in the hospital after making risky decisions.
“I encourage our young people to think about your own risk but also to think about the risk of the ones that you love and visit,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “Because if you get COVID and bring it to them, even if you’re fine, they may not be.”
Dr. Cavanaugh concluded her statement by reminding the public to get serious about evaluating one’s own personal behavior and taking all precautions to protect yourself, which includes wearing a mask.
“I know masks are uncomfortable, I know they’re hot, I’m sweating over here wearing my mask but I did it anyway,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “I did it for my family and husband and I hope that many people will choose to do the same. I know that we can do it.”