LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Louisiana has been in a modified Phase 3 for about three weeks, but Region 5 is consistently showing the highest numbers.
To date, more than 1.2 million people have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, you can count Lake Charles’s mayor among them.
Mayor Hunter is the latest public official to receive their first dose of the vaccine. Given that our area has seen the lowest vaccination rate since the rollout began, Hunter said he wanted to be transparent about his journey in hopes that it would encourage others.
“I’m very worried that the general public in Southwest Louisiana has not responded to the vaccine to the levels that we have seen throughout the rest of the state,” Mayor Hunter said.
One year later and it’s no doubt that COVID-19 still reigns supreme in our area’s recovery.
”We still have people in the hospital that are dying from this virus,” Hunter said.
After experiencing the virus first-hand, Mayor Hunter received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and addressed the city’s role in the process.
”In this arena, I think the city can be a conduit. We can connect people with messaging from the medical community, from the faith community,” Hunter said.
”We’re hoping we’re seeing the end of the third wave. We’re obviously worried about Easter and all the families that got together,” said Lake Charles Memorial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Manley Jordan.
Dr. Jordan says the numbers surrounding local hospitalizations remain a concern.
”The state has decreased its hospitalization rate fairly rapidly since January,” Dr. Jordan said. “We have come down a little bit from the 30′s but we’ve been hovering around the 20′s for the last month and a half. At one time, we were the second highest hospitalization in the state in this area.”
He says he’s hopeful that with more education about the vaccine, we’ll be able to reach herd immunity by year’s end.
”What we’ve been telling people has changed, and I understand it’s led to frustration, but we’re in a better place today and in our knowledge. We’ve learned a lot,” Dr. Jordan said.
Just a few months ago, the biggest challenge was supply and having enough vaccine to distribute to the community. Now, the challenge is demand.
Lake Charles Memorial says they’re currently administering anywhere from 200 to 300 doses per day.