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Lafayette hospitals say they are near capacity during COVID-19 press conference

Hospital leaders urge Acadiana community to follow guidelines
Posted at 11:05 AM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 17:23:23-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — On Thursday, July 23, Governor John Bel Edwards will hold a press conference on Louisiana's response to COVID-19.

At Thursday's press conference, Lafayette General Health CMO Amanda Logue, MD, and Our Lady of Lourdes CMO Henry Kaufman, MD, joined Gov. John Bel Edwards to give updates on their respective hospitals, which they say is near capacity and are again delaying some non-emergency procedures.

Edwards said that hospitalizations are increasing all across the state, but he is especially concerned about Regions 4 (Acadiana), 5 (Southwest) and 6 (Central).

Both Logue and Kaufmann urged Acadiana residents to follow the guidelines in place for people to wash their hands, practice social distancing of 6 feet, avoid large crowds and wear masks when leaving their homes.

Logue said that the recent surge in cases in Acadiana is severely impacting hospital resources at Lafayette General.

Logue said that LGH is accustomed to taking care of patients in Acadiana and taking transfers, but they are not able to do that now as they would like.

She said it has become a challenge to take care of patients locally and the hospital is quickly running out of space.

LGH has also had to transfer patients out of area to Rapides Parish and other parts of state.

Logue said that in July, LGH had to decline 87% of requests to transfer into their health system, which is not normal for them.

She said that Lafayette General Medical Center currently has one half of its ICU and one third of its non-ICU has patients that are fighting COVID currently.

Logue said on May 27, LGMC had 15 COVID-19 patients, but yesterday morning there were 105. And across its five acute hospital systems, they have 143 COVID patients, which was only 20 patients just six weeks ago.

Logue said that she still wants the community to know that if anyone needs emergency care then they should still come to the Emergency Room and doesn’t want anybody to be afraid to get emergency medical service if they need it.

According to Logue, the LGH main campus has half of its ICU and one third of non-ICU patients fighting COVID-19.

She added that they are seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 spread, which is leading to more hospitalizations in area.

Logue said that LGH is also moving elective surgeries that they do not have capacity for out of the main campus and canceling some all together.

Logue said that some of their hospital beds are closed due to illness to staff and that they do not have enough nurses to staff all of their beds.

"We need to truly flatten the curve once and for all," said Logue. She then urged Acadiana to follow the guidelines in place for people to wash their hands, practices social distancing of 6 feet, avoid large crowds and wear masks when leaving their house.

Kaufmann also said that at Our Lady of Lourde's Regional Medical Center, their hospital is full and the ICU is near complete capacity.

He said that the surge in patients has significantly affected hospital operations and that they have almost completely eliminated elective surgeries at the hospital over the last two weeks.

He said that this includes patients who have had to put off procedures including heart bypass, cancer surgeries and mammograms.

Kaufmann also said that this includes some patients who have had to delay their procedures during the first months of the pandemic.

He said he is worried that this is causing further complications for those having to delay procedures for preventative care, including things like mammograms.

Kaufman said Lourde's has seen a 300% percent increase in cases from what they saw during the initial wave of COVID-19 in Acadiana.

Kaufman admitted that he always anticipated a second wave, but thought it wouldn't come until the fall when hospitals and medical staff would have more time to prepare.

In a press conference on Tuesday, July 21, the governor announced that Phase 2 would be extended for another two weeks, until Friday, August 7.

The Phase 2 extension includes the governor's mandatory mask requirement, the closure of bars to on-premises consumption, and the limit of indoor gatherings to 50 people.

On Tuesday, the governor stated that the increase in the number of cases had made Louisiana second in the nation in per capita cases, just behind New York.

See the latest COVID-19 numbers from LDH, here.

Watch the governor's press conference below:

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