Local hospitals say their ICUs are at max capacity as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

lafayette general.jpg
Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 30, 2021

LAFAYETTE — There are three ICU beds available in Region 4 out of 156 total. More than 1,000 people are hospitalized across the state with COVID-19, and 162 of those people are on ventilators.

"The transmission is very high. We know that this Delta variant is very infectious, contagious ... I've heard reports of one person being able to infect up to five to eight people if they are around them unprotected. That is incredibly high numbers and continues to only make the spread that much faster," Chief Medical Officer at Ochsner Lafayette General Dr. Amanda Logue said during a press conference with Our Lady of Lourdes Friday afternoon.

Both Our Lady of Lourdes and Oschner Lafayette General say they are at max capacity in their ICUs. Dr. Henry Kaufman, interim Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of Lourdes, said during the briefing that OLOL is using regular beds outside of the ICU.

"Part of that reason and why it's such a high percentage of our 70 patients is we're seeing enhanced severity of this illness in these individuals who, many of whom, are otherwise completely healthy," Dr. Kaufman explained.

At Oschner Lafayette General, Dr. Logue says they have not yet needed to use regular beds, but can and will do so.

"About four weeks ago we had ten people in our whole health system with COVID and today we have 97, " Logue said.

Both hospitals say they are seeing an increase in people under 60 with severe COVID symptoms.

"It's a complete inversion in fact from our last big wave of the pandemic, whereas before, well over 50 percent of the individuals in the hospital and certainly in the ICU were over age 65 with multiple co-morbidities, and many of the people in the hospital were over age 55," added Kaufman. "Now it's less than perhaps 15 percent of our total patient load right now."

"Young individuals ... are coming in a lot faster and a lot more often than what we've seen ever before, and I think that speaks to what the Delta variant is doing to the community," Logue said.

Health officials continue to push for the community to get the vaccine. Kaufman says out of 70 COVID-19 patients at OLOL, only two are vaccinated.

"An elderly individual with emphysema, COPD who, on a bad day with a mild respiratory illness, might end up in our ICU anyway, and an individual with a severe immunocompromised state that the vaccine probably wasn't as effective in that individual. Outside of those two individuals, nobody currently suffering in our hospital has been vaccinated and that's a powerful and important story that we need to communicate to the public," Kaufman said.

Both hospitals are also urging anyone who needs medical attention to not hesitate because of the surge.