Over the past seven days, Louisiana is only behind Mississippi and Florida when it comes to COVID-19 cases per capita. Hospitals across the state are simply full. Not only are the intensive care units full, the regular beds are full, the pediatric wards are full, and the emergency rooms are full. Patients are already being treated in driveways, in tents and in car parks that have been converted into temporary expansions. Under normal circumstances, many hospital patients would already be on their way to rooms in safer areas, but as cases of variable deltas explode across the Southeast, those rooms are already full. Whether it’s Louisiana or Mississippi, or within Arkansas, or west into Texas, there is no place to turn patients in a health care system that faces record demand for beds.
This means that hospitals – and nurses, doctors and EMTs who are already overwhelmed and overwhelmed for a long time – have no choice but to stay where they are. Anyone else may leave. But health care professionals must stay with their patients in the hope that preparations to conserve power, water and supplies will be adequate in the face of a strong storm.
During Hurricane Katrina, both hospitals and extended care facilities in and around New Orleans found themselves lacking energy, running short of medicines, and facing mounting floodwaters. This spawned a number of horror stories, such as those in Memorial Medical CenterThe question of whether the doctors present were heroes, killers, or both remains difficult to resolve.
In 2017, Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality published “Five lessons from Katrina. “Unfortunately, one of those lessons was that evacuations had to be more inclusive – which simply doesn’t seem possible in this case. One of those lessons is that hospitals need to be able to transfer patients and resources between them, but the pandemic overflow makes that Less likely Whether other lessons — about keeping supply lines open and maintaining communications — are helpful will depend on how well each facility practices the final step: exercises and preparation in advance.
One thing is very clear: Anyone who is in the area and can leave, has to leave. Anyone in the area who cannot leave should seek shelter. And everyone must take every possible step to avoid both COVID-19 and any infections.
In the wake of Ida, there will be damages from the devastating winds. There will be a flood of huge storm surge. There will be flash floods, fallen trees, power outages, dead ends, and very difficult conditions from a combination of wind, flood, and heavy rain. The situation will be very difficult and very dangerous. And even those who usually ignore it all should run now, because What is there Not Be any hospital family.
If you can get out, get out. Do it safely, but do it now, because time is running out fast.