Earl Eues, Director of Terrebonne Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, gave his biweekly COVID-19 update on Monday, Aug. 23, during the Council’s Public Services Committee meeting.
There is one intensive care unit (ICU) bed available in the region, he said. The Louisiana Department of Health’s Region 3 includes seven parishes: Terrebonne, Lafourche, Assumption, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Mary.
As of Monday, 91 COVID patients are hospitalized in Terrebonne Parish, he said, and three weeks ago, the daily average was 55 COVID patients. Twenty-two of those 91 patients are in the ICU, and 12 are on ventilators, according to Eues. He said 91 percent of the hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated, and none of the ICU patients are vaccinated.
“There are some patients in the hospital that are waiting 36 hours before they can get a bed in the emergency room,” he said. “The emergency rooms are overflowing with people with COVID, and there’s no beds for them.”
At the last meeting, Eues was joined by Terrebonne General Health System CEO Phyllis Peoples, who reported that over 20 of the 28 beds in the hospital’s ER were filled with COVID patients that past weekend, positivity rates were rising and more than 40 employees were out due to the virus, among other concerns. Eues said he asked Peoples if there was anything she wanted the Council to know prior to yesterday’s meeting. According to Eues, she said, it’s “three times as bad” as it was two weeks ago.
“It is a dire situation right now in our medical facilities,” Eues said. “If you don’t believe that, please talk to your nurse friends and your doctor friends; they’ll tell you what it’s like in Terrebonne General and at [Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center].”
To date, the parish has seen 230 COVID deaths; 30 of those came this month, according to Eues. He said three of the deceased were in their 30s. He highlighted that none of the deaths in August were among nursing home residents.
Eues did have some positive notes, however. “Vaccinations are up 2.3 percent; any type of increase in vaccinations is a plus for us,” he said. The parish is at 32.68 percent vaccinated, he said. The percent positivity rate dropped from where it was last week, 19.3 percent, to where it is currently, 16.9 percent, he said.
There are currently about 4,120 positive COVID-19 cases in Terrebonne Parish, according to Eues.
“If you are set on not getting vaccinated…I respect that. But I ask that you please, please do what you were doing before we had a vaccine: social distance yourself, please wear your mask, wash your hands,” Eues said. “…And most importantly, stay away from large [groups] of people if you’re unvaccinated.”
Eues also said that a monoclonal antibody infusion portable center is possibly coming to the parish. Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to CNET, preliminary research shows the COVID treatment reduces the risk for hospitalization or death by about 70 percent. Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday said Louisiana is working to make the treatment more accessible in the state.
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