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Lafayette doctor discusses surge's effect on hospital

Posted at 10:46 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 00:06:48-05

LAFAYETTE — Cases of COVID-19 in the state and Acadiana continue to rise, and emergency personnel have seen those increases in Lafayette.

On Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 15 new deaths and 43 new hospitalizations.

"We're adding an additional five or ten COVID admissions every day to what we already have in place, which means our numbers have gone from the mid teens, about a week ago, to today, we're at about 26 patients right now, which is just over about 15 percent of hospital capacity," said Dr. Henry Kaufman, a surgeon and the interim chief medical officer at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center.

Our Lady of Lourdes is currently in Phase 1 operations, which means everything is running normally, but Kaufman says pretty the hospital could enter Phase 2 pretty soon.

"The number of COVID cases that we have begin to affect the care that we deliver and that we start moving some things around, start looking at elective surgeries, whether or not we need to pull back on that to create some more space for patients with COVID," said Kaufman.

According to Kaufman, the hospital is already 95% full because it's flu season, which is typical for this time of year.

"We're already starting a little bit behind the eight ball as far as bed capacity goes, and this was our fear from the beginning, that we would be dealing with this third wave at the same time, concurrently, as the respiratory flu season hits," said Kaufman.

The doctor says we can make a difference if the community acts now.

"We can suppress the disease to the point where we can start having access toward vaccines, start immunizing the population, especially those most at risk, start suppressing this disease, so we can start living our lives the way we want to," said Kaufman.

Regarding the staff, Kaufman says the number one feeling right now is dead because at this point, they know how COVID-19 affects the patients and how it affects them emotionally, being that the patients don't have access to their family members.

Kaufman says it's a tough situation, and no one is looking forward to it, but he reiterated that if the community acts now, the severity of third wave can be avoided.