LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The U.S. Navy arrived in Lafayette Wednesday to aid a local hospital in its fight against COVID-19.

Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center applied for the assistance through FEMA, and they are receiving the first of five teams being deployed throughout the country.

The team of 20 servicemen and servicewomen includes four doctors, 14 nurses, and two respiratory therapists. Across the Lafayette General Medical System, there are currently 73 staff members who are out, unable to help with the fourth surge, so these Navy physicians will be assigned beds in the hospital which are now empty and unstaffed.

With cheers and clapping, heroes welcomed heroes as the U.S. Navy joined the team at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center on the front lines. The enemy the Delta variant.

Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center CEO Al Patin said, “The team is extremely excited for the support and welcoming of the support. We’ve been in this pandemic for a while. This is our fourth surge, and although there is some frustration from our team that we’re having to do this again, they’re rolling up their sleeves, and they are going to take care of our community. This is just added support, and we’re super thrilled that they’re here.”

Patin said hospitals across the country applied for aid through FEMA, and according to the Military Times, Lafayette is receiving the first of five 20 physician teams.

“We’re already in a nursing shortage coupled with the high numbers of this pandemic in our community creates a situation where we needed additional support,” Patin admitted.

Ochsner Lafayette General currently has 169 coronavirus patients. That’s up from only 10 patients two months ago on June 18, and these doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists will staff an additional 16-18 beds to make sure each one is kept open.

“These are medical professionals in the areas of emergency medicine, ICU critical care, medical surgical nursing. We anticipate them doing some of their shadow shifts with some of their counterparts tomorrow, and because of their skill set, they will begin taking patients on Friday,” Patin explained.

These Navy physicians came in from across the country, and Patin said they will stay as long as our community has a critical need which is expected to be a good while.

COVID-19 patients at Ochsner Lafayette General over the weekend. On August 16, 90% of their COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. There were 18 COVID-19 patients in ICU, and 15 of those were on a ventilator. All of those patients on a ventilator were unvaccinated.

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Hospitalizations as of August 16, 2021