Rising coronavirus cases putting strain on Louisiana hospitals
BATON ROUGE - The surge in COVID-19 is putting a strain on hospitals across the state. Our Lady Of the Lake says its running out of staff to take care of patients.
"We're not going to run out of beds for you, but we're going to run out of the best care we can offer you. And we don't want to do that," said Dr. Catherine O'Neal, Chief Medical Officer & Infectious Disease Expert at OLOL.
Top doctors, first making an urgent plea to the community, are now being forced to take action. Health officials at Our Lady Of the Lake are putting a two-week stop on all non-emergency procedures.
"There's a lot of COVID in this community right now. It would be best that if you could put off your elective surgical procedure that you do that, so that you don't have to come into contact with so many community members and to free up that bed for somebody who needs it," Dr. O'Neal said.
The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the state is taking a toll on hospital workers.
Dr. O'Neal says one of the biggest issues is staffing, and facilities are struggling to find enough healthcare workers.
"COVID care, is such intense care that you often need one-on-one nursing. I have a nurse taking care of one patient at a time. Which means that we're running out of nursing care, we're running out of respiratory therapy, we're running out of physical therapy to help those patients. So we're stretching that care to make it work," she said.
Her assessment is backed by troubling numbers. OLOL hospitals admitted 50 coronavirus patients in the last two days, bringing their hospitalization numbers to 103. Forty-one percent of those patients are in the ICU.
In a conference call, OLOL CEO and President Scott Wester said there's a bigger problem.
"Capacity concerns are not just a Baton Rouge issue, but it's also a state of Louisiana issue. We're starting to see very strained capacity issues across other regions," Wester said.
Doctors once again are stressing the importance of wearing masks and social distancing. They're urging the community to take care of themselves and to think of the health care heroes as well.
Hospital officials say cases that are immediate life-or-death situations will continue without delays.
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