Edwards: Louisiana on track to run out of ventilators by first week of April


Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks to his supporters at the New Orleans Jazz Market on September 25, 2019. Edwards said Louisiana is on track to run out of ventilators by the first week of April, even as coronavirus cases across the state continue to grow. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes

Erin Snodgrass

Only one day after the White House granted Louisiana a major disaster declaration to help combat the state’s growing coronavirus cases, Governor John Bel Edwards said in a Wednesday press conference that he projects Louisiana will run out of necessary hospital equipment by the first week of April.

On Monday, March 23, Edwards warned federal officials that as COVID-19 cases continue to grow exponentially across the state, the New Orleans area was in serious danger of running out of healthcare capacity by the first week of April.

On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state, only the fourth one in the nation to be granted the designation.

But even with the new help and national attention, Edwards said New Orleans still needs 600 more ventilators which help patients with severe respiratory illness breathe. According to nola.com, the state is currently seeking 2,000 more ventilators.

The number of deaths in Louisiana grew to 65 on Wednesday, March 25.

With one of the highest rates of cases per capita in the country, Louisiana has issued a stay-at-home order for its 4.6 million residents.

Edwards said as the state focuses on acquiring the necessary medical equipment, he wants Louisianians to focus on following his stay-at-home mandate in order to effectively flatten the curve and hopefully slow the spread of the virus.