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Mayor Nic Hunter chats with hospital leaders on COVID-19

Mayor Nic Hunter discusses COVID-19 with hospital leaders in SWLA.
Mayor Nic Hunter discusses COVID-19 with hospital leaders in SWLA.(City of Lake Charles)
Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:42 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter sat down with hospital leaders in Southwest Louisiana on Monday to have a conversation about COVID-19 and how the virus is impacting our local hospital system and community.

In the 16-minute video, Hunter shared his purpose of the interview with Dr. Tim Haman of CHRISTUS Ochsner Health SWLA and Dr. Manley Jordan of Lake Charles Memorial Health System, both chief medical officers.

“It has never been my intention to incite hysteria, but also we can’t avoid the facts,” Hunter began. “And when we talk about COVID-19 itself, the virus, there are a lot of voices out there.

While there has been an increase in new cases and hospitalization rates across the state, Dr. Haman described what’s going on in hospitals in Southwest Louisiana.

CHRISTUS Ochsner Health SWLA has had a dramatic increase in the past 14 days, according to Dr. Haman.

“Our previous high was in mid-April and we’ve already surpassed that as of today,” “So we’ve got more patients in the hospital here at our facility and in the region as a whole then we did back in April when all this started.”

Dr. Jordan echoed Dr. Haman’s report, saying Lake Charles Memorial has surpassed the original peak of hospitalization rates.

“We had our original peak first week in April and we too have surpassed it in the last week to ten days, we’ve had the highest volume of covid patients that we’ve had during this pandemic.”

The prior peak for Region 5, which includes the five-parish area of Calcasieu, Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, and Jeff Davis, was 46 patients in the hospital. As of Monday, there are 91.

Dr. Jordan said he’s are concerned about the change in our trajectory, which was noticeable after Memorial Day weekend when more people became hospitalized.

“We had 0 patients in the hospital from May 25-29. After Memorial Day, we saw a significant increase in the prevalence in the community. Our testing rate went from less than 2% and today, it’s close to 25% positive rate for every test we do.”

Both physicians discussed topics such as COVID-19 vs. the flu, who is more vulnerable to the virus and the importance of wearing a mask to help prevent the spread in the community.

Hunter concluded the interview with the following key points, urging the community to wear a mask.

“The situation has worsened, we have double the hospitalization rates, this is not the flu – it’s more transmissible and what we’re seeing [hospitalization rates] cause much more concern than a typical flu season.”

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