NOLA doctors say more patients are ending up in the ICU with Delta variant

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - COVID patients are still filling up our hospitals, but on top of that, doctors say they’re finding patients are becoming sicker.

While the number of patients in the hospital isn’t changing a whole lot, doctors are now admitting more people to the ICU, and placing them on ventilators.

Chief Medical Officer of Ochsner, Dr. Robert Hart says there are more than a thousand patients right now in the hospital across the Ochsner system, but he says even with different and effective ways of treating those patients, 270 of them are now in the ICU. He says the number of ICU patients is rising. It’s the same story in 6 hospitals that are in the LCMC system. Healthcare leaders, there, say 40 percent of their patients need critical care.

“It tells us that the Delta Variant is really making people sick and it’s making people sick very quickly. What we see is the patients quickly making a trend downward and getting more critically ill. We even have some of our patients that are admitted to one of our acute care units end up needing to be transferred to the critical care area,” says Allison Guste, AVP for Clinical Excellence, LCMC.

“What’s happening is those numbers of people being intubated are gradually creeping up as well, just like our ICU numbers. If you look across our system, our numbers of patients being intubated are about 45 percent of all of our ICU patients,” says Chief Medical Officer of Ochsner, Robert Hart, M.D.

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Ochsner’s Dr. Hart says the monoclonal antibody infusions are becoming very popular. That’s the IV treatment for people who test positive for COVID that could significantly reduce your chances of ending up in the hospital. Ochsner is now performing 340 to 350 infusions each day.

Both Ochsner and LCMC tell FOX 8, they’re increasing space in their infusion centers, and also hiring additional staff.

The average age of a hospitalized patient now is in the mid 50′s, and the positivity rate of children has gone way up. LCMC now says 40 to 50 percent of its daily positive cases are children.

Healthcare leaders want to stress 89 to 90 percent of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.

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