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US Louisiana governor: State no longer on track to run out of hospital beds, ventilators this week

02:10  07 april  2020
02:10  07 april  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Monday that the state is no longer likely to run out of hospital beds before the end of the week as state officials believe the rate of new coronavirus cases in the state to be decreasing.

During a press conference, Edwards said that the state was "flattening the curve," referring to a rising trend of new infections beginning to reverse.

"We are hopeful we're starting to see the beginning of flattening the curve," said the governor. "We have to keep doing everything we've been doing to have the best possible outcome."

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John Bel Edwards wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Louisiana governor: State no longer on track to run out of hospital beds, ventilators this week © Getty Louisiana governor: State no longer on track to run out of hospital beds, ventilators this week

Edwards added that orders implemented by his government would be necessary to continue in order for state health officials to gain control over the disease's spread.

"We've bought ourselves more time that allows us to continue to surge our medical capacity and continue to flatten the curve," he added. "And all of this stuff works in concert. So we've got to keep doing everything that we've been doing to have the best possible outcome."

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The state has reported nearly 15,000 cases of coronavirus, making it one of the nation's major hotspots of the disease. More than 500 deaths have been reported, with Edwards telling reporters Monday that around 70 percent were African-American patients.

"Disturbingly, this information is going to show you that slightly more than 70 percent of the deaths in Louisiana are of African-Americans," he said. "That deserves more attention and we're going to have to dig in and see what we can do to slow that trend down."

Edwards had previously predicted on Sunday that the state could run out of available hospital beds by the end of the week, while reaching its ventilator capacity on April 9.

"This is a tough emergency, and it is not different here than elsewhere," he said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that the state received 200 ventilators from the national stockpile.

Outbid and left hanging, U.S. states scramble for ventilators .
Some states have been muscled aside in the scramble for equipment to combat a virus that has killed nearly 18,000 people in the United States, potentially leaving them vulnerable should the worst-case scenarios materialize or the virus return in subsequent waves. The stakes are especially high when it comes to ventilators, which can be the difference between life or death for patients suffering from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Reuters surveyed all 50 states about their ventilator needs.

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