Ochsner Health System struggles to take in transfer patients

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- The fourth coronavirus surge continues to take a toll on hospitalization. Ochsner health leaders say they are having to decline transfer requests.

As of Aug. 11, Ochsner declined 175 transfer patients in a week because of a lack of beds and staff. 

“It’s definitely a huge impact. We are redeploying lots of nurses out of our area like endoscopy labs in the outpatient area and employing them into the inpatient area,” said Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health.

Oschner typically accepts over 50 transfers a day for a higher level of care but now only completing 20. 

The hospital is seeing requests from not only within the state but also from Oklahoma and Arkansas. These are patients who need a higher level of care. They could be COVID patients but also people who are recovering from a stroke or bone fracture. 

As of Wednesday, Oschner Health System has 1,063 COVID-19 patients, 81 of those patients are in Baton Rouge.

Taking in transfer requests also becomes a battle with multiple staff in quarantine.

“540 employees are out that have tested positive for COVID and once again that is out of 33,00 employees,” said Thomas.

According to Ochsner Baton Rouge, “Among the COVID-positive patients on a ventilator, today at Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge, 58% are between the ages of 18-59. None of these patients on a ventilator under 60 years old had been fully vaccinated.”

The health system is hosting free drive-thru PCR testing six days per week at the former Runnels School located at 17255 S. Harrell’s Ferry Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70816. The site will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in August. Testing will be available on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The full media briefing from August 11th is available below.

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