Local doctors say hospitals can handle spike in COVID-19 cases

Hospital Capacity Concerns amid coronavirus spikes

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations grows, some local doctors say they have enough resources for the spike.

Just between Thursday and Wednesday, hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state jumped by 3.5 percent.

"I know there are some parts of the state where they are seeing more patients in the hospital, but locally, I think we're doing really well right now, and I think that's a testament to the public doing what they need to do," Dr. Jeff Elder, UMC Director of Emergency Management said.

Dr. Julio Figueroa with LSU Health says metro areas peaked with cases in the beginning. Now, other areas are being hit.

"The harder hit areas seem to be kind of in Lafayette, a little bit Lake Charles, looks like Monroe is also heavier hit, and I think St. Tammany's got some increasing things as well," Figueroa said.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health website, there are 653 hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

"In this region, it's a very small percentage of total patients, and so it's not what it was in March and April for us," Elder said.

The number of ICU beds in use in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes is at 61 percent.

As nearby cities like Houston reach close to full ICU capacity, Elder said it's something to keep an eye on.

"Communities stressed with additional patients, stressing the hospital system, that is a concern, and the closer to home it is, I think the more of a concern it is. I think that's why we have to keep putting these messages out there," Elder said.

Elder says they have enough resources if we see another spike.

“I think the hospitals have certainly been preparing a lot for that because of the expectations that’s the case. I think the other thing about it, now that we’ve been through it once, and kind of have analyzed all the things that we went through, I think we’re much better prepared,” Figueroa said.

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