Lafayette area ICU hospital beds are at 97 percent capacity

Despite the high capacity, a local hospital said patient load is manageable

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The Lafayette area’s ICU hospital beds are at 97 percent capacity, meaning only four beds are available in the region, the Louisiana Department of Health reported Wednesday . However, a spokesperson for Lafayette General Health — one of the region’s local hospitals — said LDH’s numbers can be “a little misleading.”

Patricia Thompson, director of communications for Lafayette General Health, said LDH’s reported hospital bed availability only accounts for licensed beds. She said the hospital can still put out more beds for COVID-19 patients as long as there are available rooms.

“We are still able to manage our patient volume,” Thompson said. “Not all patients need an ICU bed, so we’re able to surge more beds throughout one of the several hospitals in our health system.”

“Of course, if numbers continue to rise, it will get more challenging, but we’re still in Phase 2 of our surge plan,” Thompson said.

Thompson said reaching Phase 3 of their surge plan would mean they would have to create a “Hot Zone” unit strictly dedicated to COVID-19 patients as an extension of their intensive care unit where “COVID-19 patients are essentially cohorted together.” All elective surgeries — or surgeries that aren’t medically necessary — would also be cancelled if hospitals were heading into a Phase 3 scenario, “but we’re not there yet.”

Lafayette General Health has not had to open up a “Hot Zone” since the state’s second surge over the summer, Thompson said.

“Our key message is we need to continue with these mitigation efforts and protect the most vulnerable,” Thompson said. And as hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to rise nationwide, Thompson hopes patients don’t avoid care if they face non-COVID-19 medical emergencies like a stroke or a car accident.