Hospitals in New Orleans are bracing for public well being emergencies on two fronts as Hurricane Ida threatens to strike similtaneously Louisiana is experiencing a surge in coronavirus circumstances.
New Orleans is within the midst of a “extreme outbreak” with a seven-day common of 220 new infections, in response to the metropolis’s Covid-19 dashboard. Throughout the state, greater than 3,400 new circumstances had been confirmed as of Friday, in response to the Louisiana Division of Well being. At the very least 2,684 persons are hospitalized in Louisiana with Covid-19.
Final month, Louisiana hit the greatest single-day improve of Covid-19 hospitalizations for the reason that pandemic’s begin with 6,800 new circumstances in a single day, the second-highest single-day case rely since Jan. 6, 2021.
“As soon as once more we discover ourselves coping with a pure catastrophe within the midst of a pandemic,” mentioned Dr. Jennifer Avengo, New Orleans public well being director. “Our plea and our hope is that everybody will put together for each very critically and really completely.”
Avengo added that residents nonetheless have time to obtain their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the event that they haven’t finished so already. Unvaccinated residents account for 90 % of recent infections recorded between Aug. 12 and 18, and 91 % of present hospitalizations, in response to the state well being division.
“We urge you to do this to provide your self that additional safety,” Avengo mentioned. “If you’re vaccinated, thanks.”
Ida had most sustained winds of 80 mph with greater gusts Friday night because it handed over western Cuba, in response to the Nationwide Hurricane Heart. The storm will transfer into the Gulf of Mexico Saturday.
The storm is predicted to slam the northern Gulf Coast as a Class 4 storm on Sunday with most winds of 140 mph, in response to forecasters — 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana as a devastating Class 3 storm.
Well being care methods throughout New Orleans are already placing contingency plans in place, together with beefing up staffing, ordering a surplus of provides and minimizing the quantity of sufferers who’re admitted to hospitals with non-emergencies.
“We undoubtedly had been in full catastrophe mode and preparing for this storm,” mentioned Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Well being.
Ochsner has ordered 10 days value of meals, medicine and medical provides, Thomas mentioned.
“That is simply one thing that, being in Louisiana, we’re used to and we’re in that mode in the present day,” he mentioned.
At LCMC Well being, the hospital will enter a “code grey lockdown” early Sunday morning and usher in extra employees to look after sufferers. Workers and sufferers will shelter in place however haven’t been ordered to evacuate but, mentioned Dr. Jeffrey Elder, medical director for emergency administration.
Moreover, docs and nurses have been advised to organize for a excessive quantity of sufferers amid the Covid-19 surge.
“We have skilled for this,” Elder mentioned. “We have ready for it.”
With heat water temperatures within the Gulf anticipated to accentuate the storm, New Orleans might take a very dangerous hit. The town’s mayor, LaToya Cantrell, ordered obligatory evacuations Friday for residents in low-lying areas outdoors of the town’s levee system. She additionally referred to as for voluntary evacuations contained in the levee system.
Within the years since Hurricane Katrina devastated elements of the town, New Orleans hospitals realized helpful classes about tips on how to plan for future crises, Elder mentioned. This consists of higher hardening of buildings and getting ready for lack of energy and water.
“Our hospitals are in a a lot better place than they had been pre-Katrina,” Elder mentioned. “We’re rated for greater depth hurricanes and actually are able to shelter in place … to maintain sufferers secure, preserve our employees secure, after which simply trip out the storm.”