Medical leaders in Acadiana provided an update Thursday on the state of their facilities and the community as Louisiana continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Henry Kaufman, Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of Lourdes, Dr. Amanda Logue, Regional Medical Director at Ochsner Lafayette General and Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region 4 Medical Director of the Office of Public Health were on the call to provide information to the media.
Dr. Amanda Logue says that Ochsner Lafayette General has seen an increase in hospitalizations at their facilities thanks to the current Omicron surge in the state. Currently, there are 111 COVID patients with 20 in ICU and 12 of those patients on ventilators.
She says many in the 111 patients count were coming to the hospital for other medical reasons, they just happen to also be COVID positive. This is different than previous surges where people were coming strictly because of COVID.
Logue says it is part of their procedure to test every person that comes in to Ochsner facilities for medical treatment.
Contrasting with the Delta surge last year, In august there was 172 patients with COVID at OLGH.
Dr. Logue says they are not at the numbers they saw last year with services shut down and facilities and staff overburdened.
They hope they don't get there, Logue points out that there is potential for plateaus on new patients being admitted with COVID however it is too early to say.
The numbers locally, she says, are still going up.
186 employees with Ochsner Lafayette General are out with COVID. The number is higher than with any prior surge across all types of healthcare professionals.
Logue says that those employees with COVID are coming back to work faster than in previous surges.
The Domingue Recreation Center has remained open Monday through Friday for COVID-19 testing. Logue says that 300 tests are administered per day, both PCR or rapid tests.
They have seen a 40 to 50 percent positivty rate.
Ochsner says that the people coming through are not necessarily sick. Many are getting tested because of need to return to work or school.
Officials say that vaccines are offered at all Ochsner locations for all eligible people. Boosters can also be scheduled through them on their website.
Ochsner says that the vast majority of critical patients in their hospitals are not vaccinated. Others hospitalized are vaccinated but not boosted. Those non-boosted individuals are older and with co-morbidities, Logue said.
Length of stay for vaccinated people is also significantly lower, she says.
Dr. Kauffman with Our Lady of Lourdes says they are seeing an uptick on admissions but not at the same level as Ochsner.
60 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized on their main campus. 71 COVID patients are recorded throughout the system. 1 child is in pediatric care.
Kaufman noted that numbers are lower because patients that come in for reasons, other than COVID, are not tested for the virus unless they have symptoms. He says that is done to keep tests available.
Currently, 9 patients are in ICU and 6 are on ventilators. 6 deaths have been recorded in the hospital from COVID he says.
Kaufman says that 70 percent of patients seeking care at Lourdes for COVID are not vaccinated.
Kaufman says with increasing COVID infections just this week, they are expecting to be above where the hospital was in August 2021.
At that time, there was a significant stress on hospitals.
Kaufman says that elective surgical procedures are being lessened and adjustments are also being made to their surge plan to accommodate . He states that other restrictions will have to go into place as cases surge.
The number of employees out is significantly less than previous waves of COVID-19. Lourdes did not provide a number of employees out.
Dr. Tina Stefanski says that in this 5th surge of COVID, Omicron is leading as the dominant variant.
Stefanski says the virus is very contagious but is less virulent. She says despite this, Omicron is still sending people to the hospital.
To protect health, the workforce and schools, Stefanski says that community has to use simple but effective measures against the virus.
- Get vaccinated and get boosted.
- Test for COVID
- Avoid gathering in large numbers
Dr Stefanski also mentioned the short supply of therapeutics in the state to combat COVID. Medications, oral anti-viral medication and monoclonal infusions are in short supply, Stefanski said.
When asked how the area should approach Mardi Gras this year with the COVID surge, the group agreed that any event has the potential to be a super-spreader in the community
They recommend wearing a mask when gathering with people outside your family circle.
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