Gov. Edwards plans to use hotels to house coronavirus patients

Local

LAFAYETTE, La. — Part of Governor John Bel Edwards’s request for a major disaster declaration included using hotels to supplement hospital beds capacity.

The Juliet Hotel in downtown Lafayette has been majorly impacted by COVID-19. Not long ago every room was booked for Comic-Con at the Cajundome before the event was canceled.

The owner Lesa James said it’s gotten so bad, that all nine employees that maintain the small business are laid off.

“We started noticing a slow down about a month ago”, admitted Lisa. That’s when many of the French-speaking tourists who frequent the hotel during the week began canceling reservations.

The Juliet Hotel has 20 rooms. Normally they’d be bustling with guests, but James said now, “Every room is empty. We don’t have people calling to make reservations. We have people calling to cancel reservations.”

Governor Edwards listed hotels as an essential business at his stay at home order, and Monday he wrote in his major disaster declaration request to President Trump that he has begun contracting with hotels to provide additional beds to reduce the strain on hospital capacity.

“This means beds, this means equipment, this means PPE (personal protective equipment), this means staffing,” explained Edwards in his Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Doctors and nurses would monitor the rooms and patients who are less at-risk added Governor Edwards, “These are individuals who may be COVID positive, but they don’t require an intensive care bed, don’t require a ventilator, but they’re not ready to discharge home either.”

When James heard of the proposition, she was all aboard, “Whatever we can do to assist in this, we will do.”

She said multiple other hotel owners are seeing no reservations, and she’d be more than happy to save lives if asked to, “I may not be able to stay open. I may not be able to weather this storm, but at the end of the day, money comes and goes but life doesn’t.”

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