Coroner: We are at war with the delta variant


MANDEVILLE, La. (WGNO) — St. Tammany Parish leaders are calling right now a “do or die” situation as COVID cases spike with no end in sight.

Health leaders are fed up and are urging people to use common sense. They’re tired of people believing memes or misinformation circulating online. Doctors want people to know the information they are reporting is real and the mitigation measures in place could save lives.

On Monday, doctors said health systems are on the brink of collapsing as COVID continues to rapidly spread.

“We are at war with the Delta variant and this is D-Day,” said St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston.

There are staffing shortages, long wait times in the ER and some hospitals are turning patients away. As it is in other parishes, Dr. Preston said St. Tammany Parish resources are stripped and the health crisis is dire.

“The government cannot sole this. Only the actions of individual, responsible citizens can stop this plague,” Dr. Preston said.

Parish President Mike Cooper stressed COVID is not a political issue and lives are at stake. He’s worried large events indoors or outdoors could become super spreader events.

“Each infected person is possibly infecting eight or nine others on average,” Cooper said.

Leaders believe masking and getting vaccinated is patriotic.

Dr. Timothy Riddell, Regional Medical Director of Ochsner Northshore said “freedom” is the way out of the COVID, not politicizing the virus.

“Freedom to act responsibly, the freedom to make a decision to protect the people you care about and to protect the people around you. This is an opportunity for Louisiana to not be 50th in every health ranking,” Dr. Riddell said.

Acadian Ambulance in St. Tammany Parish has brought some patients to urgent care or mental health facilities instead of the hospital because there is simply no room.

Hospitals do want people to only visit the ER if their medical situation warrants it. If your situation is non-emergent, you could be waiting several hours for care.

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