Edwards: Hospitalizations in Acadiana continue to rise as facilities face staffing shortages and burnout

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UPDATE: Acadiana’s healthcare system is backing up due to the surge of COVID-19 patients, and the healthcare providers themselves are starting to face burnout after several months of fighting the disease.

In today’s press conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards had special guests — Dr. Amanda Logue of Lafayette General Health and Dr. Henry Kaufman of Our Lady of Lourdes. Both doctors sounded alarms that COVID-19 cases are starting to have adverse effects on the ability to provide healthcare to non-COVID patients.

While both Logue and Kaufman said their hospitals can continue to service emergency patients, such as those with heart attacks or those involved in car crashes, elective surgeries have mostly been eliminated. In many cases, the hospitals still haven’t been able to service patients from the first wave of COVID-19.

“I worry about the hidden impact of this disease on the community that we haven’t yet fully appreciated,” said Kaufman.

Both doctors and Edwards also sounded the alarm about staffing shortages in hospitals, including a large number of nurses who are catching the disease while caring for patients. Even worse, there aren’t many places to turn for extra staff, as the nationwide fight against coronavirus has created similar situations at hospitals everywhere.

“Everyone who is employable is employed,” said Kaufman.

Kaufman said hospitals are starting to turn to non-traditional methods of staffing, such as calling in retired nurses or people who have left the nursing profession but still have an active license.

Logue said Lafayette General has has to decline 87% of requests to transfer patients into their system. In some cases, they have had to transfer patients out to other hospital systems in Rapides Parish, Baton Rouge, North Louisiana and even Mississippi. She said the current situation is unsustainable.

ORIGINAL POST: BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY)- Hospital officials from Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes will be speaking today during Gov. John Bel Edwards’ press conference Thursday.

Region 4, which is Acadiana, is seeing a startling rise in COVID-19 patient hospitalizations. Medical officials will provide an update today on capacity concerns.

We will update this story this afternoon.

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