Louisiana’s COVID-19 surge starts to stall other surgeries

Coronavirus

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — as it grapples with a steadily increasing influx of COVID-19 patients amid the state’s latest spike in cases.

Baton Rouge-based Our Lady of the Lake said it will pause scheduling new, nonurgent surgeries that require an inpatient bed for at least three weeks after admitting 25 new COVID-19 patients within the last 24 hours.

Louisiana has one of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the nation, worsening this latest surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.

Statewide, the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus illness reached 1,221 on Monday, according to state health department data. That’s more than double the hospitalization number only 10 days ago.

Our Lady of the Lake — which runs a regional medical center, children’s hospital and smaller hospital in the Baton Rouge area — said it has 112 of those COVID-19 patients in its facilities, 40% of those in intensive care.

“Our inpatient facilities remain at capacity,” Stephanie Manson, chief operating officer at Our Lady of the Lake, said in a statement. “We made this decision to make additional beds and staff available. Previously scheduled procedures are proceeding as scheduled. We continue to schedule outpatient and new urgent surgical procedures.”

Health officials warn that delaying procedures such as cancer treatments, knee surgeries and other inpatient operations considered nonemergency could worsen health conditions over time.

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