As the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Lafayette Parish and all of Louisiana continues to grow, hospitals are having more trouble providing lifesaving services to COVID and non-COVID patients.

The strain caused by the pandemic is also being felt by medical supply companies. It's a strain one Lafayette Parish councilman knows all too well.

Kevin Naquin works in the medical supplies sales business. He says hospitals are having trouble servicing patients because of the quickly growing case count. He addressed this shortage during a discussion about how Lafayette would enforce the state's new mask mandate.

Here is Naquin's statement in full:

From a professional standpoint, if you're not in the medical field and you don't watch the news, you would definitely think it's not bad. I work for a great company called U. S. Med Equipment, and nationally, we are running out of BIPAPs and ventilators. Florida looks like a third-world country--1,400 patients in hallways (and) not enough patient monitors. And my company is one of maybe three or four that supplies the whole United States. Manufacturers are not opening up and making more BIPAPs and ventilators. I predicted (this) about three weeks (or) four weeks ago. I started to call some hospitals and let them know if you're thinking you're going to need them and the numbers are starting to spike, we need to do something. It's bad. I've turned down 50 to 60 hospitals a day for the last four days. We're working around the clock to try to get as much equipment as we can. So I definitely understand the governor's mask mandate, and I would tell the public to definitely be safe and try to make smart decisions. I'm not telling you what you should do or what you shouldn't do, kind of like you, but it's three different strands. It's a little bit different than the first go around, so just be cautious out there and make a smart decision.

Earlier in the week, Mayor-President Josh Guillory said his efforts to implement the mask mandate would focus more on education rather than enforcement. To read that story, click here.

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