BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced Thursday, Jan. 14 East Baton Rouge Parish will stay in its current modified version of Phase 2 of reopening the economy, for now, unless the parish’s COVID-19 situation does not improve.
However, Mayor Broome said if the community spread of COVID-19 and hospitalizations from the virus do not decrease she will have to move the parish back to Phase 1.
“I am giving us one more chance for us to make that change,” Mayor Broome said.
The mayor-president said 118 people have died from COVID-19 in the parish since her last news conference, which was held on Nov. 16. 2020.
Leaders from Baton Rouge’s hospitals, including Baton Rouge General, Ochsner Medical Center, and Our Lady of the Lake, joined Mayor Broome Thursday.
Hospital officials said their staff members are being stretched thin due to their ICUs being full with COVID-19 patients. Officials said hospitals having multiple problems due to the pandemic.
Nurses are becoming sick with COVID-19 and are having to miss 10 day or more days of work, hospital officials said.
This is compounded by a nationwide nursing shortage. Officials also say non-coronavirus patients are delaying treatment for common conditions and are coming into hospitals sicker than they normally would. The sicker patients have to stay in the hospital longer and require more care.
Dr. Katherine O’Neal, the chief medical officer with Our Lady of the Lake, said hospital officials “didn’t have any more tricks” in their back pocket and desperately residents to follow mitigation measures to reduce the community spread and the number of hospital patients.
Mayor Broome said the parish has a problem of residents not complying with mitigation measures, particularly large gatherings. She said if officials learn of large, informal gatherings happening in the parish law enforcement will be contacted to disperse the gatherings.
The mayor-president implored people to care about their fellow neighbors and fellow parish residents to follow mitigation measures, particularly wearing a mask while out in public, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding large gatherings.
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