Louisiana governor warns state could exceed capacity to treat patients within one week

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) warned President Trump on Thursday that his state could exceed its capacity to treat patients in one week because of the coronavirus.

“My fear based on modeling I’ve received today is that as early as seven days we can start to exceed our capacity to deliver healthcare,” Bel Edwards said in a televised call with Trump and other governors.

There are 347 confirmed cases in Louisiana, but Bel Edwards noted that his state is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus on a per capita basis.

He asked the Trump administration to allow the state to send patients to a Veterans Affairs hospital in New Orleans.

“We’re going to do everything we can to mitigate and slow the spread, but in the time we have, we’ve got to increase our surge capacity. That is our biggest concern,” Bel Edwards added.

Bel Edwards elaborated in a press conference with local reporters afterward he was specifically referring to the Orleans-Jefferson region of Louisiana. Under worst-case scenario models, the coronavirus could outpace the health care capacity in that region in 7-10 days without additional help from the federal government, he told reporters.

States all around the country are trying to find ways to increase capacity at their hospitals as they brace for an onslaught of coronavirus patients.

An analysis from Harvard shows many parts of the U.S. won’t have enough hospital beds if the virus continues to spread.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) raised similar concerns this week when he predicted the coronavirus would peak in 45 days in his state and would require 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds.

Top Trump health official Seema Verma recommended this week that hospitals suspend elective surgeries to free up supplies, doctors and beds. 

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