OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – In March, Opelousas General saw a drastic decrease in the number of COVID positive patients in house.

Chief Population Officer Tim Marks says the hospital spent most of April without a COVID positive patient in house. During the latest update, they are reporting one positive patient in house. Marks continues, “We are sitting at a much better position than in recent past.” Not a new normal but “evolving” normal.

That is how Opelousas General Health System is moving forward after years of battling the deadly coronavirus. Although, the pandemic wreaked havoc on the healthcare system, the hospital is using the pandemic as a learning curve. “I think it forced innovation which is encouraging. Let’s face it, invocation with action is not very meaningful,” Marks says.

He tells News Ten they are seeing a steady flow of patients return to routine and regular care. He says as far as out-patient procedures and surgical procedures, the hospital is seeing those volumes increase as well. Marks adds, “I won’t say we are back to pre-COVID normal but operationally we are at a much better place. I don’t see us having that decrease access we unfortunately had during COVID.”

The biggest hurdle the hospital continues to face is staffing. “We have a lot of clinicians who are not providing in-patient, beside care anymore. We are still seeing a bit of a struggle,” Marks explains. Marks says “staffed capacity” causes the hospital to take back to normal operations one day at a time. “We have to look at in-patient surgery based on what we have in house at the time,” says Marks.