Local hospitals prepare to balance COVID-19 and potential hurricane

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Local hospitals are preparing for the potential storm while tackling the fourth surge of COVID-19. Doctors at Ochsner said they are preparing for the worst.

“We are at 95 percent capacity if you try to look at every bed that we have to put somebody in, so yeah, a hurricane presents another challenge,” said Dr. Ralph Dauterive, VP Medical Affairs at Ochsner in Baton Rouge.

To handle the over-flow of COVID-19 patients the hospital set up a pop-up tent, but that could be coming down due to the storm.

“We have a temporary air-conditioned tent that’s helping out with our emergency room capacity and that will have to come down if the winds come up,” Dauterive said.

Pre-COVID-19, hospitals could transfer patients if a hurricane caused major damages, but this fourth surge is preventing that.

“In major evacuations of major evacuations one of the things that we try to do is get patients out of the hospital and get them into other facilities, in other locations,” Dauterive said. “That’s not going to be that easy to do with this process, we will have to probably be in the hospital at the time, there is no place to send COVID patients.”

A big concern is making sure the backup generators kick in while so many people are relying on ventilators to keep them alive.

“You’ve got to be able to keep those pieces of equipment running, the most important one is going to be the ventilator,” Dauterive said.

They are stocking up on water, food, and medical supplies to last them for at least 72 hours. And while they are at full capacity, they will do whatever they can to help.

“We might not be doing elective things as much right now, but we still have time, space, and manpower, personnel to take care of the emergencies, and hurricanes are just another emergency,” Dauterive said.

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