Medical officers give update on COVID-19 in Acadiana

Posted at 7:43 PM, Jul 09, 2020

LAFAYETTE, La. — Chief Medical Officers Dr. Amanda Logue with Lafayette General Health and Dr. Henry Kaufman of Our Lady of Lourdes gave an update on how their hospitals are dealing with the recent rise in cases during the Lafayette Consolidated Governement's COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday.

Logue said that at LGH's worst peak back in April, they had 71 patients in all five of their acute hospitals and were down to 21 patients at their lowest point on June 10.

As of Thursday, she said LGH has 106 patients in the hospital throughout the system - with 22 of those patients in the ICU and 12 of them on ventilators.

"So, you can see a significant increase and way past where we were back in April," Logue said

Currently, 75 of those 106 patients are housed at the LGH main campus with 58 of them on the main floor and 17 in the ICU.

For the patients that are on the medicine ward on the floor, Logue said the time of symptom onset to the time they need to get admitted is about five and a half days.

The average age of those patients is around 56, with slightly more female than male and slightly higher African-American patients.

According to Logue, the most common comorbidities that LGH sees remain as they did the first time around: hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and obesity.

About 21% of the patients LGH has seen that are admitted end up needing ICU, and about 12% of them require the ventilator.

The average age of ICU patients at LGH is around 65.

"There has been discussion around a younger population this time around," Logue said. "That is certainly true in the out-patient setting."

She added that on the in-patient and ICU side, they are slightly younger but not significantly from the first time around. So the same demographics and the same age group of people that were vulnerable before are still vulnerable now.

There have also been about 23 moralities at Lafayette General since the beginning of June, with 76 being the average age of those who have passed.

In terms of the outpatient side of things, Logue said that urgent cares follow the trends as well as thier remote testing sites that seen throughout the whole region.

LGH urgent care centers have been doing about seven times more testing than they have in the last four weeks, which is about 350 tests a week on average. And those tend to be positive about 30% of the time.

From the remote testing centers, LGH has done more than 3,000 tests with a positivity rate of about 13%.

The average age of both of those groups of people testing positive is around 35.

"In terms of our plans for our health system for managing this amount of patients, we certainly have re-enacted a lot of the plans that we did the first time around," Logue said. "We never actually shrunk our ICU bed capacity from the first time, so we continue to draw on that level of ICU capacity that we have this time around."

However, LGH has had to postpone surgeries just this past week for the first time since Phase 2 in order to make space for in-patient beds and for ICU beds.

LGH is also relocating its pediatric unit to free up those beds to be additional ICU beds.

"We are noticing a bit more people who are coming through for scheduled procedures that are getting screened for COVID-19.; they are coming back positive," Logue said. "And unfortunately we’ve had to postpone their cases as well for their health and well being and their safety as well."

Dr. Henry Kaufman of Our Lady of Lourdes said that his hospital is currently housing approximately 60 COVID-19 patients primarily at its main campus, which includes all of its campuses across Lafayette Parish.

That number is approximately double the initial surge that we saw several months ago, he said.

Kaufman said that Lourdes is currently in Phase 2 of its surge plan, which means that that have expanded the number of COVID-19 patients on its floors.

However, besides affecting surgical operations, Kaufman said that operations at the hospital continue to go on as normal.

But Lourdes has seen a similar increase in cases just as Lafayette General has, with the average age range for patients between 65 - 75.

"We’ve now had initial lag where most of our patients were previously on the floor, and we are now seeing those patients evolve in to needing ICU care," said Kaufman. "And approximately on third of those patients are in the ICU."

Lourdes currently has about eight people on ventilators at present.

According to Kaufman, that’s come from a shift in care management that’s occurred nationally and internationally in that they are now managing most patients or as many as they can off of ventilators with improved results.

"I think that we’ve all gained a tremendous amount of experience in the last several months both as a facility and as healthcare professionals in managing this disease," said Kaufman. "And all though we are seeing significantly increased cases, I think the comfort level in dealing with it and the health care facilities in Acadiana is much higher.

"So we’re in worse place as far as numbers go, but I think we’re in a better place as far as the management and the resources that we have in place," Kaufman added.

And starting on Monday, Lourdes will reschedule many of its elective surgical cases that it will be evaluating on a day-by-day basis as bed capacity allows.

"In the last 72 hours or so, we’ve seen a relative stabilization in the number of cases being admitted to hospital in that the discharges have balanced with the new admissions," said Kaufman. "That’s way too early to call it a trend. We are waiting with baited breath to see how that may evolve. And we’re still very worried about the significant increase in the number of cases."

He added that there is still significant capacity within the hospital and Lourdes is not near the point where it would move to its Phase 3 Surge Plan, which would have a significant impact on normal operations on the hospital unfortunately.

You can see both Kaufman and Logue's full reports below at the 11:15 mark.

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