COVID-19 hospitalizations are decreasing, according to Ochsner Health officials.
In the beginning of August, Ochsner says they had about 1,100 COVID cases.
The day Hurricane Ida hit, that number was down to 765.
Two weeks ago, there were 400 patients.
Today there’s only around 300.
Medical leaders say that’s a good sign coronavirus cases are declining, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t go up again.
“We’ve seen a continued declined in our COVID census across our system. Very positive news from that perspective, and we’re pleased with that,” Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas said.
“Very pleased to see that the numbers have gone down dramatically, and we are seeing that the positivity rate across all of the larger parishes and across the state are on a downward slope, which is good,” Ochsner Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Hart added.
Ochsner Health officials say a big reason they believe the numbers are coming down is because more people are being vaccinated.
With the new vaccine mandate for their employees, 86% of their health care workers have at least one dose.
They say about 14% of their employees still need to be vaccinated.
“We hope nobody has to leave the organization because they’re not vaccinated, but the possibility is that could happen,” Thomas added.
As more hospital workers roll up their sleeves, Ochsner Health leaders say the numbers for Louisiana aren’t where they should be.
“We hope not to see another big surge like this fourth one, but we’ve got to continue to put the vaccination rates on up,” Dr. Hart said.
They say in the eastern side of the state, over 50% of people have had the vaccine. The western side is slacking, though, with only about 30% of people vaccinated.
“As we come out of this fourth surge, I know everybody wants to breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief, but with vaccination rates that low, we’re still not out of the woods yet,” Dr. Hart added.
He says whether or not we see a fifth COVID surge depends on three things: vaccination rates, whether or not people mask up and social distance this fall and winter, and if another variant shows up.
“If we see the positivity rates begin to climb again, if we don’t buckle down quickly, we could get into some problems,” he said.
Ochsner Health officials also say their hospitals are still facing two major issues: staffing and rescheduling procedures for people who’ve had delayed care because of COVID-19.