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Doctors urging public to stick to COVID guidelines as holidays near

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BATON ROUGE - As COVID-19 cases climb nationwide, doctors are growing concerned that holiday gatherings could lead to a greater surge in cases that will overwhelm the healthcare system. 

"This morning we only had two ICU beds available. Our COVID ICU rooms are filled. We've seen this happen twice this year where we've gone to capacity and expanded," said Dr. Louis Minsky, chief medical officer at Baton Rouge General. 

Doctors say a large portion of the recent outbreak could be attributed to what they have dubbed "COVID fatigue." The phrase describes those who are tired of the daily inconveniences associated with the pandemic, such as wearing a mask or avoiding large crowds. 

“When you sit in a bar or restaurant and it's not well ventilated and you’re taking off your mask because you're eating or drinking, especially if alcohol is involved, you’re going to see people really let their guard down,” said Dr. Tatiana Saavedra, an infectious disease physician. 

While the vaccine industry continues to make significant progress each day, doctors continue to remind the public to stay vigilant and follow mitigation measures until we reach the finish line. 

"I would encourage everyone to wear your mask daily, out in public, everywhere you go... And to keep that physical distancing because that's so important, and we know that it works," Dr. Saavedra said. 

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