LSU Health Shreveport held a news conference at the campus’ auditorium on Friday, July 23, to discuss the persistently increasing prevalence of the Delta variant of Covid-19, inform the public of the corresponding threat that it entails, and promote efforts to increase vaccination rates.
Speaking at the panel were health officials, community representatives, and Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins.
Perkins spoke at the panel to express his concerns with the commensurate dangers of the Delta variant, and as a response to this he issued a mask advisory for the Shreveport area.
“The spike in Covid-19 cases is extremely alarming, and it requires immediate action from all of us. This is the biggest public safety threat of all of our lifetimes, so as of today — as the mayor of the city of Shreveport — I am issuing a mask advisory,” declared Perkins. “We cannot afford to lose one more person”
In accordance with the advisory, Shreveport residents will be encouraged to wear masks when entering indoor facilities or public locations.
Even before the emergence of the newer, more volatile variant of Covid-19, the virus had claimed the lives of over 600,000 Americans up to the date of the conference. Because of this growing urgency to defend against the growing dangers, Dr. John Vanchiere — Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the LSUHS COVID-19 Strike Team — spoke at the panel to promote the importance and the efficacy of taking the vaccine.
“The most important part in changing the course of this pandemic is getting vaccinated. . . [the vaccines] are safe,” explained Dr. John Vanchiere.
With the high susceptibility of transmission that has been observed in the Delta variant of the virus, the average age of patients with cases of the virus have been going down, meaning that more young people are starting to catch Covid-19.
“We are climbing rapidly. We have 900 [Covid-19 patients] in the hospital in the state; we were down to thirty or forty in the hospital at one point,” said Dr. Martha Whyte. “Seeing these young people hospitalized is very concerning.”
In an effort to appeal to the residents of the Shreveport area, Union Spring Baptist Church Pastor Seaberry offered anecdotes of his own experiences witnessing the struggles that people have gone through because of Covid-19.
“I have had to comfort the families of those who died, who lost their loved ones. . . This is personal for me,” said Pastor Seaberry.
Shreveport announces its mask advisory adjacent to New Orleans as issuing their announcement for the same caution.
With the state at the threshold of entering its fourth Covid surge, the Louisiana Department of Health reports that July 20 marked the third highest day for Covid cases in Louisiana since the outbreak began in March 2020, with approximately 5,388 cases being reported.
Health professionals have determined that over 80 percent of current Covid cases are of the Delta variant, and this comes alongside the report that only one-third of Northwestern Louisiana has been vaccinated.
Medical Facilities — such as Christus Shreveport-Bossier — have corroborated these statistics, saying that they have also observed a rise in Covid patients.
As encouragement for citizens to expedite their vaccine visits, a Covid-19 vaccination site is being set up at 1500 Pierre Avenue in Shreveport, with patients that are getting their first dose being registered in a lottery for a chance to win $1 million. Walk-ins are welcome, and the event is being held Saturday, July 31, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.