April 2 12 p.m. La. COVID-19 cases

Vice President Pence confirmed Louisiana will receive an additional 200 ventilators from the federal Strategic National Stockpile in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards. 

Louisiana has already received 150 ventilators from SNS, 400 from private vendors and 3 from the National Guard. The latest shipment from SNS, which is expected to arrive soon, will bring the total to 753. 

All but 3 of the 553 ventilators already donated were distributed throughout the Greater New Orleans area. According to the Louisiana Department of Public Health, 1,054 out of a total of 1,971 ventilators were available throughout the state as of April 4.

Most of the patients on ventilators reside in Region 1, which includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes. While none of the regions have run out of ventilators, Region 1 has the greatest deficit, with 293 out of 632 ventilators available as of April 4. 

Despite the 46.4% of ventilators in the New Orleans area still available,  Edwards said in an April 3 NPR broadcast that New Orleans could potentially exceed its capacity for ventilators by April 7. 

“I very much appreciate the president and the vice president and the folks at FEMA for cutting us into that last allocation,” Edwards said in the broadcast. “And we continue to make our case for more based on the modeling that we have that indicates that as soon as April the 7, we could exceed our capacity for ventilators here.” 

The state is reportedly considering using single ventilators to service multiple patients in case of a shortage. 

In Region 1, newly admitted COVID-19 patients outnumber discharged patients. On April 3, 99 new patients were admitted and 88 were discharged. Current modeling data indicates there may be 2,500 new hospitalizations a day as of mid-May. 

“We obviously have a spread that is growing faster that we would like to see,” Edwards said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” 

Edwards said in the interview that hospital bed capacity will be reached shortly after the state runs out of ventilators, although a temporary hospital is set to open in New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center. 

“We’re going to be able to get those beds up,” Edwards said. “The staffing remains very difficult and the ventilators are what we need right now.” 

Region 1 reached 75% capacity as of April 4, and the majority of regions have exceeded 50%, although the number of beds has steadily increased as hospitals surge capacity. 

On March 13, a few days after Louisiana’s first COVID-19 diagnosis, there were only 4,859 beds available in the state. April 4 reports indicated the number of beds increased every week since and has now reached 7,910. The number of beds in use is 10,307, or 56.6%.

There are 12,496 reported cases of coronavirus in the state of Louisiana, and 409 deaths. Out of the state’s 64 parishes, Cameron, Tensas and West Carroll are the only ones reporting zero cases. 

Louisiana has placed orders for over 12,000 ventilators through the national stockpile and private vendors. Additionally, the state is receiving several hundred thousand surgical gowns for the Great New Orleans Area medical community.

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