NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city’s health director says new limitations on indoor bar crowd sizes could be imposed next week based on current Covid trends. She also says fewer Saints fans will be allowed into the Dome for next weekend’s big game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Superdome home-field advantage will likely be a thing of the past for the remainder of this year.
“What we’ve told them is they would go from 6000 to 3000,” said New Orleans health director Jennifer Avegno, MD.
The Saints had hoped to be up to 15,000 in attendance for the next game. But now that the numbers are trending in the wrong direction, crowd cuts are on the way for the Superdome and for the Smoothie King Arena, which way may be limited to just 750 people when the Pelicans take the court next week.
“We’re trying to be consistent if that means a 4 percent level,” Avegno said.
Health officials say the cuts were made necessary because the COVID positivity rate is above 5 percent and the daily new case count is over 100.
“We’re currently seeing 4 to 5 times the number of new cases daily that were a month ago and that is a huge rise,” Avegno said.
More than 70 percent of the region’s hospital beds are filled and health officials want to flatten the curve to avoid running out of bed space. Also attending today’s news conference were Frontline medical workers who described often trying working conditions during the nine months of the pandemic.
“As our numbers are rising we see our nurse numbers diminishing,” said University medical center nurse Latoya Mero.
She says the nine-month pandemic fight has taken a toll.
“We do it relentlessly however there comes a time where our nurses and healthcare providers are experiencing fatigue mental stress and physical stress,” she said.
The danger is often hidden.
Doctors say 1.1 percent of the population is believed to be infected and many don’t even know it.
“Up to 50 percent of cases may be asymptomatic and silently spreading,” Avegno said.
For that reason, Dr. Avegno says social distancing, masking and testing are more important than ever to avoid more restrictions which could be announced next week.
Dr. Avegno says restrictions on indoor bar crowds and other gatherings could be imposed next Wednesday if the covid numbers don’t improve.
Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.