Hospitals believe Acadiana has already seen peak COVID-19 cases only if social distancing continues

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Lafayette, La. — Continue what you’re doing now to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and doctors are hopeful hospitals will not surge in Acadiana.

Wednesday doctor’s from Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes hospitals said they believe the area has already passed the peak of COVID-19 patients entering region four hospitals, but warned if citizens change their behavior now all that progress could be undone.

“We’re assuming the peak occurred possibly two or three days ago,” stated Dr. Douglas Clement, the Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) medical director, and an emergency medical doctor at Our Lady of Lourdes, during a daily LCG press briefing.

He and other Lafayette hospital physicians admitted in the last five days, they have seen a steady number of coronavirus patients entering the local hospital system.

“We’ve had a flattening of our ICU and critical care needs and the number of patients that are in the hospital with coronavirus that are not in the ICU,” explained Lafayette General Hospital (LGH) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amanda Logue.

Not only are fewer people being admitted to the hospital, but those inside are staying a shorter length of time. When the COVID-19 outbreak started ICU and ventilator patients stay an average of 14 days, but recently in New Orleans that has shrunk to nine days.

LGH System President and CEO David Callecod shared,”When you think about it, that then lowers the number of total ICU and vents that are needed because those patients have dropped off a vent five days sooner.”

The shorter stays are due to new methods of treatment proven more effective for treating COVID-19 and getting patients off ventilators faster.

According to Dr Logue, “They’re doing more what we call ‘proning’ where we position the patients sometimes on their stomach or on their sides which is not your typical way you would handle a patient in the unit, but it helps increase the aeration of the lungs.”

Because of these developments in models and community participation in the stay at home orders, medical professionals believe region four will not exceed the number of beds and ventilators needed with the surge, but there’s a big if attached.

“If we were to suddenly get back to work, and everybody would stop social distancing, we would probably start spreading the disease all over again,” warned Dr. Logue. “Then we would be facing a bigger surge a week or two from now.”

Though the signs this week have been relatively positive, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory urged Lafayette and Acadiana not to be complacent. These best outcomes are only possible if everyone keeps following the prevention measures to the best of their ability.

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