State models for Acadiana show summer peak for coronavirus

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The latest models from state government show a peak of coronavirus cases in Acadiana is expected this summer.

Doctors from Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes said last week they already believed we hit a peak locally, but the state reached out to region 4 hospitals and administration recently to show their models which paint a different picture.

“We expect to see that greatest increase actually some time this summer,” explained Dr. Tina Stefanski, the region 4 medical director for the Office of Public Health, as she urged we are still very much in the middle of the coronavirus’s spread through the Acadiana community.

“We have not reached our peak,” Stefanski stated. “Our hospitals are still seeing a steady number of patients.”

While some models predict lowering numbers of infections while numbers steady, Dr. Stefanski explained extensive state modeling shows the opposite, “There are just lots of different models, lots of different academic institutions who are looking at numbers, numbers of testing, individuals who are tested, individuals who are hospitalized, and then based on that, based on the rate try to predict when we might see our peak or our greatest number of infections in the community.”

A peak is when the highest number of people enter the hospital for COVID-19 care in one day. Dr. Stefanski said the goal is for there to be a slower peak and not a quick and sharp one.

Officials agree continued compliance in social distancing and staying at home is key to not overwhelming our healthcare system.

“Medical experts warn about the possibility of a second surge in the future when guidelines are relaxed, so we definitely want to avoid that here in Lafayette Parish and Acadiana,” noted Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory.

Dr. Stefanski said, “We definitely are still right in the middle of this virus infecting individuals, so we don’t want people to back off. We want people to persist. Don’t be complacent.”

If measures are followed, Dr. Stefanski said that the slow rise and decline of cases could go into June, July, or August; however, these models change every day and are expected to change quite a bit once more people are able to be tested for COVID-19.

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