Should Louisiana limit travel with surrounding states as their COVID-19 surges?


While Louisiana is seeing a flattened curve and steadily decreasing COVID-19 hospital demand, other states in the region are not.

CBS News reports climbing coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations in Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi; the states on all three sides of Louisiana.

Others with frequent travel with Louisiana include Florida and Georgia.

Texas and Florida both set up checkpoints over the past few months to stop Louisiana drivers entering those states and require travelers to sign affidavits pledging to quarantine for two weeks before going out in the Lone Star State of the Sunshine State.

Louisiana Assistant State Health Officer, Dr. Joe Kanter says, "Some of these areas are seeing increases that are truly concerning."

He believes it is the result of lifting too many restrictions too quickly.

"I am concerned about what is happening in Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia... I think they have been, in my opinion, a little bit too lax."

Dr. Kanter, however, does not think it is time to clamp down on people moving between Louisiana and these surging states.

"Limiting travel might be premature at this point in time, but it is concerning."

Listen to Dr. Kanter:

As hospital beds in other states fill fast, Kanter stresses, "They are going to be in a position that we feared we might have been in, where you have more sick patients than you have available hospital beds; and that's a very dark place to be in."

LSU infectious disease expert, Dr. Fred Lopez agrees that Louisiana must monitor what is happening across state lines.

"These states are going to need to be watch very carefully just as we were watched several months ago when we were one of those hotspots."

He says keeping tabs on places like Texas and Florid could be key to protecting Louisiana "in order to determine what to do about our own state, because we are locally doing quite well."

He also stopped short of calling for travel restriction, but did say that it is an "excellent question, those are the kinds of questions that are going to need to be assessed as we move forward."

Listen to Dr. Lopez: