“This is as bad as it’s been,” doctors said as Louisiana sees record COVID cases and hospitalizations

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BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Louisiana had its highest number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitilizations Wednesday since the pandemic started.

Hospital systems are worried about having enough beds for what they expect to be a tough two month period.

“This is as bad as it’s been from a volume standpoint,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal with Our Lady of the Lake.

Doctors from Our Lady of the Lake gave a phone update Wednesday on its COVID patient numbers. Ochsner staff are feeling the same pinch.

Warner Thomas, President & CEO of Ochsner Health said, “We are preparing to put more beds into service and looking at opportunities to move patients should this continue to escalate.”

Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 6,882 new COVID-19 cases along with 1,993 hospitilizations. Both are the highest since the pandemic started.

Health experts said the current numbers are impacted by holiday parties and we haven’t seen the effects from Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“It’s private parties. It’s folks who are having folks over to their house and then they take the mask off and you know, one person has COVID and then boom, you’ve got a spread at a party,” said Thomas.

Now, Ochsner is asking doctors not to schedule non-emergency surgeries that require an overnight stay. Doctors said this third surge of the virus is putting a squeeze on an already crippled system.

“What concerns me the most about this surge is that when you look at that 2,000 number we are about to hitm, those patients are spread throughout the state of Louisiana. What is not spread throughout the state of Louisiana are ICU beds and ICU doctors, respiratory therapists. Critically ill care is not spread evenly throughout the state.”

Doctors insist the guidelines of wearing a mask and social distancing are the only way to reverse this trend.

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