SWLA sees 92 deaths from COVID-19 in July

KPLC 7News at Six - July 31, 2020 - Pt. I - clipped version

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - On Friday, five new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Southwest Louisiana by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Four were in Calcasieu Parish and one in Beauregard Parish, marking 92 deaths in July alone in the Region 5 area of Allen, Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Beauregard and Jeff Davis parishes.

Vernon Parish is part of Region 6, but had 13 COVID-19 deaths this month.

Those numbers easily make July the worst month yet for COVID-19 deaths in Southwest Louisiana.

Click HERE to see the interactive chart COVID DEATHS IN REGION 5.

Click HERE to see the month-by-month graph of COVID-19 deaths in Region 5.

Before, April was the worst month with 48 deaths. The spike and cases have meant a trying time for doctors, nurses and other medical staffers trying to deliver care, save lives and keep from getting overwhelmed.

“If science is telling us that masking is what we need to do, we should cooperate,” said Dr. Carlos Choucino, a specialist in infectious disease. “If we don’t do it, we just can’t overcome it. If we continue to see young people going out without any kind of protection and then going back home and exposing themselves to their parents and grandparents, we’re not going to get over this anytime soon. The other thing that we’re going to see is an increase in the deaths.”

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Southwest Louisiana also skyrocketed in July.

On July 1, Region 5 saw its highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 63 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals. But that number continued to climb, rising to a high of 167 on July 24. As of Friday, July 31, 143 patients were hospilatized with the virus in the area.

Infection control nurse June McBride, with West Calcasieu Cameron, says it's taking a toll on healthcare workers who need the public to do their part.

“I’m asking the community to help us help you,” McBride said. “Our healthcare workers are tired. We’ve been going through a lot. Everything you’re facing they experienced and then they still show up. And so, what we’re asking is that the community, to echo the same thing Dr. Choucino was saying, wear your face covering. It’s not an option. As he was saying, if you can’t do it stay home.”

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