Third COVID-19 wave slams Acadiana, holiday season brings spike in hospital patients

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Doctors say Acadiana is in the middle of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center says they’re taking in five to 10 new COVID patients every day, and they’re now almost at full capacity.

That’s a problem because doctors know they’re going to get a huge wave of patients as families get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“We’re racing towards the end of a cliff. There’s still time to pull the breaks, and there’s still time to suppress this wave. But if we’re going to do it, we’ve got to act now. Every moment, every hour, every day that passes where we’re continuing with the same activities that we’re doing now results in more and more and more infections and the disease becomes more and more difficult to suppress,” Henry Kaufman, Interim Chief Medical Officer for Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, said.

Dr. Kaufman says the second COVID wave in July hit Acadiana hospitals hard, but this third wave is going to hit much harder.

“During the winter months routinely, hospitals are often at 90-95% capacity, sometimes higher than that, and that’s where we’re at right now as this third wave is hitting us,” he said.

When the hospital fills up, they’re going to have to start cancelling elective surgeries and deferring care for patients who can wait.

“It’ll never get to the point where we turn somebody away, however, our capacity to care for someone could be compromised in ways that we are doing everything in our power to avoid,” he added.

Dr. Kaufman says only about 10% of people in Acadiana have had COVID. That means 90% of people here are still susceptible to catching COVID-19.

“We’re hopeful that by the end of the year, we will start having access to vaccines. Unfortunately, that is not going to have any impact on this third wave,” he told News 10.

By the time the vaccines are here, it’ll be too late to stop the virus from rampantly spreading during the holidays.

“By the time the vaccines get here, we are going to be at the peak of the third wave, so what we have to do now, right now, today is everything within our power that’s reasonable to suppress the disease and suppress this third wave and to get to the point where we can vaccine enough of the community so we can have immunity to this disease and start going about our lives as we all want to,” he said.

Dr. Kaufman says what we need to do now is limit travel during the holidays, limit the size of gatherings, and wear masks and social distance at get-togethers.

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