LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Acadiana is on the brink of a third wave of coronavirus, and with the highest percent positivity and hospitalizations in months, the region’s top doctor has an urgent message to turn things around.
Of the 3,500 new COVID cases reported in the state Friday, one out of every five were inside Acadiana. The impact is already visible with only one of the regions 164 ICU beds listed as available.
LDH Region 4 Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski warned unless we turn things, we’ll likely see it reflected with increased death counts.
“We don’t want to repeat history. We have now the benefit of hindsight, and we know what happened last time. We saw this increase in young adults. We saw it spill over to the most vulnerable in our community. That can happen again,” Stefanski said.
Although the medical world and average citizen know a lot more about COVID-19 than during the Spring and Summer surges, the populace seem to be making the same mistakes in the first, second, and now third wave.
Dr. Tina Stefanski said her office is getting lots of calls primarily from schools but also health providers seeing an increase in cases in the community, particularly in 15-39-year-old age range, but it’s inevitable some will bring it back to their family.
“Now is the time to intervene and change course,” according to Stefanski.
Contact tracing shows parties in homes or crowded venues are causes of spread. Also less mask-wearing despite CDC research now showing masks not only protect those around the wearer but also the wearer themselves if they cover their mouth and nose.
“We want the community to have all this information so that they can make good decisions for themselves and their families. We’re really hoping that we can come together as a community and work together to slow down the trajectory so that we don’t get to a point where we were this summer where we had a large number of people admitted to the hospital, an increase in the number of people who died from COVID,” said Stefanski.
Fall and Winter stress hospital space more every year and already, ICU beds are reported near capacity. Though the numbers are dire, Dr. Stefanski said if we can hold out until 2020’s end, a vaccine with 90% effectiveness should be available.
“We just want people to stick it out for a couple more months until we’re able to get the vaccine, and then get it to the most vulnerable and then out to the community at large.”
If you noticed a jump in reported cases, it is because rapid response test results have been added to every data set on the LDH coronavirus dashboard except percent positivity. That’s because the quick tests are not as sensitive to detecting small traces of the virus as the tests which take days to get a result.