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Our Lady of the Lake welcomes volunteer healthcare workers Monday

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BATON ROUGE - A number of Louisiana hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of the dozens of virus patients who've been checking in during the most recent resurgence of COVID-19.

But healthcare workers at Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL) in Baton Rouge are now hoping they'll be more prepared for large numbers of COVID patients thanks to a group of healthcare workers who are willing to lend a hand.

On Monday morning, OLOL welcomed relief from the Disaster Medical Assistance Team from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The federal assistance team provides additional support to Louisiana’s largest hospital to care for the high surge of COVID-19 patients, increasing patient care capacity and opening more beds.

The 33-member team was welcomed by Our Lady of the Lake Monday morning with a traditional blessing of hands ceremony as they join together to care for the highest volume of COVID-19 patients the region has experienced thus far due to the Delta variant.

During the welcome meeting, OLOL President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Wester expressed gratitude for the team's arrival, explaining why their presence was necessary, "It's been quite a journey over the last, now, year and a half for our nation, our organization, and more importantly for the communities, we're always so privileged to serve."

He continued, "Dr. Katie O'Neal, who is our Chief Medical Officer, and I talked probably three weeks ago and it was a weekend I said, "I'm starting to hear a lot of friends and colleagues saying, "I need to get tested, I don't feel very well." And here we are now, three weeks later, at our highest level of census we've seen since the beginning of the pandemic with COVID."

Wester said OLOL is supplied with adequate testing kits and PPE, but has lacked the needed personnel.

Thanks to the team's arrival, this issue is now being addressed. 

The DMAT from the HHS National Disaster Medical System consists of physicians, mid-level providers, nurses, paramedics, a respiratory therapist, pharmacists, and administrative support specialists who will serve at Our Lady of the Lake’s Regional Medical Center campus for the next month.

Wester went on to say that as of Monday, the hospital is treating 155 COVID patients and most of those individuals are not vaccinated.

In a news release, OLOL confirmed that one-third of the 155 are in intensive care. In addition to this, OLOL says one COVID-19 patient is being admitted every hour in addition to a steady influx of patients coming into the Emergency Department.

Stephanie Manson, Chief Operating Officer at Our Lady of the Lake said the majority of the COVID cases OLOL is seeing involve unvaccinated individuals. 

Manson advised, “The best way to protect yourself and your family from the highly transmissible virus raging through our community is to get the vaccine.”

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