NEW ORLEANS — Gov. John Bel Edwards said under a “worst-case scenario” – parts of Louisiana would run out of resources to provide health care in seven to 10 days without help from the federal government.

Some doctors have privately complained about a critical shortage of personal protective equipment, masks, gowns and other supplies at some New Orleans area hospitals.

Publicly, those who run the hospitals maintain their supplies are holding up at this time.

LCMC Health CEO Greg Feirn admits their levels are not where they want them to be, but they have enough supplies to handle the volume of care they currently have.

“As the demand continues to grow, we are going to need more supplies,” Feirn said. “But, we do think there’s relief in sight. We know we have orders coming in next week and the next week after that.”

At Ochsner Health, CEO Warner Thomas spoke to reporters on a conference call, Friday.

Ochsner owns or manages about a dozen hospitals in the area.

Thomas said his supplies are also holding up at this point, but staffing is tight.

He revealed some hospital personnel may have been exposed to the Coronavirus.

We do have staff that have to get quarantined because they may have been in contact, even if they have personal protective equipment, if they show signs and the symptoms, we are having them quarantined and not work,” Thomas said.

Thomas also said Ochsner received additional ventilators this week and is expecting more next week.

His hospitals are the process of preparing additional rooms for Coronavirus patients.

“We’re opening up 96 more ICU beds in the next couple of weeks,” Thomas said. “We will work to place more orders if we need more capacity in the future.”

Back at LCMC, signs posted in front of some of the company’s 5 hospitals say “Hero’s Work Here.”

 As medical professionals who are now on the frontlines of this public health emergency do their job, Greg Fiern says we all have a role to play in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus.

“For 14 days if everyone could behave as if they were COVID positive and if the individuals they were talking to were COVID positive it would go a long way toward flattening the curve,” Feirn said.

You can help keep the area healthcare system from getting overwhelmed by just staying home and sheltering in place.

Over in Mississippi, the State Department of Health and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will begin distributing vital supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to counties across the state, Saturday, March 30, 2020.

Twenty-five percent of the current state PPE inventory will be distributed as “push packages” to county points of distribution all across the state.  These “push packages” will be executed through a joint logistical operation resourced by MEMA, MSDH, and MS National Guard assets. 

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