“It will be a problem”: Hospital officials brace for the state’s fourth COVID surge

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center is bracing as the state battles another COVID surge, the fourth since the start of the pandemic.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Henry Kaufman, explains, “It is a dramatic upsurge, with a significant acute slope. We are on a high climb right now.”

Dr. Kaufman tells News 10 that four weeks ago, about 5% of the hospital was filled with COVID patients. That number has now quadrupled to 25%.

Doctors expected another uptick in numbers, but not this soon.

“It has accelerated the timetable,” Dr. Kaufman adds.

He explains that while they have dealt with surges before, this one presents a greater challenge.

“The Delta variant is more contagious and unlike other viruses who usually weaken, it becomes more infectious,” he said.

He says they are seeing younger people in and out of hospitals and ICUs. The majority are people who are 30 to 50 years old who haven’t had the vaccine.

“There is no question where we are seeing COVID locally, regionally, and nationally spike is in unvaccinated areas,” Kaufman says.

Fewer people are getting vaccinated, and nearly three-quarters of the Louisiana residents are not protected. Dr. Kaufman says the state’s lag in vaccinations and increasing cases could create a need to limit operations in hospitals again.

“We don’t have enough people vaccinated that this surge won’t be a problem. It will be a problem. It will affect hospital operations,” adds Kaufman.

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