Louisiana hospitals are brimming over with virus patients, Ida says

Southern Louisiana's hospitals were already crowded with patients with coronavirus from the fourth surge. Sunday brought another challenge to their facilities: the Category 4 hurricane that battered the coast.

Louisiana hospitals are brimming over with virus patients, Ida says

Lady of the Sea General Hospital, Lafourche Parish, where Ida made landfall reported severe roof damage. In a Facebook message, Karen Collins, hospital CEO, stated that all patients and staff were fine. However our hospital sustained severe damage. The hospital's telephone system was down.

Aly Neel, a spokeswoman for the state health department, stated in an email that "once it is safe to do so, they will evacuate their limited number of patients." The number of patients involved was not immediately known.

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center in Lafourche Parish reported that a partial generator malfunction had been reported to the state. Christina Stephens, spokesperson for Governor. John Bel Edwards stated that the facility had not lost its critical power. She also said that some patients were moved to another area of the facility, and that the state health department was working closely with the hospital.

Ida struck as hospitals and their intensive care units were filled with patients from the fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, sparked by the highly contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates across Louisiana.

The daily count of Louisiana's new cases increased from a few hundred per day during much of the spring, early summer, to thousands each day in late July. Governor. John Bel Edwards told The Associated Press on Sunday that more than 2,400 COVID-19 patients are in Louisiana hospitals, saying the state was in a "very dangerous place with our hospitals."

Governor Edwards also stated that 22 nursing homes and 18 assisted-living facilities were evacuated. However, it was impossible to evacuate the larger hospitals because they simply don't have any other options. Edwards stated that they are anticipating power outages for several weeks. He said that a major focus will be placed on ensuring there is sufficient generator power and water in hospitals to meet vital patient needs, such as powering ventilators or oxygen.

He said, "I hate to be so harsh but we have many people on ventilators right now and they don’t work without electricity."

Ochsner Health officials, who manage the largest network of hospitals in Louisiana, stated that approximately 15 of its hospitals are located in areas susceptible to Ida. Some patients who had special medical needs were moved from rural hospitals to larger facilities by the network.

Warner Thomas, Ochsner Health's president and CEO, stated Sunday that Ochsner Health decided to preemptively evacuate St. Charles Parish's smaller hospital when the storm's track changed a bit east.

According to Hulefeld, 35 patients were transferred to other hospitals within the region in three hours. Mike Hulefeld stated that their facilities are in good health when it comes to power. In anticipation of losing power to the city, three of their facilities were relocated to generator power.

The hospital system stated that they would evacuate all patients from two other hospitals within the system as soon as possible on Sunday. One hospital with 21 patients in Raceland suffered from roof damage, while 45 patients at Houma's other facility had roof damage and power problems. Other facilities also suffered roof damage, water leaks, and damage to windows which required the movement of patients. Thomas stated that they had had issues with water leaks on the main hospital campus, just outside New Orleans. He also said that some of their patients had had surgery Sunday. No injuries have been reported.

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