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Two Monroe hospitals say they are ready for another wave of COVID-19 patients



MONROE, La. — This is the third surge of positive COVID cases we are experiencing in the state.

The latest numbers show that nearly 212,000 Louisianans have been diagnosed with COVID and it’s claimed the lives of more than 6,000 citizens.

“We need to stay vigilant. We have to stay on guard. We want to make sure the people around our table are the ones we care about most and how we care for those people is to maintain safety for us and them,” says Michael O’Neal, CMO Oschner LSU Monroe Medical Center.

Though there has been a surge in the state and locally, Oshner LSU Health Monroe Medical Center says they still have capacity for new COVID patients. They say they are used to a flu surge in the winter, but now adding COVID-19 on top, could make for a difficult season.

“We have seen the cases rise here locally, and we are expecting an increase in patient need for beds and hospitalizations as we have seen that rise nationwide,” says O’Neal

Across town, Saint Francis Medical Center has three floors and three ICU’s dedicated to COVID-19 patients, alone. In addition, they have plenty of ventilators, supplies, and staff. Right now, they can handle the volume of both COVID-19 and other patients.

“Right now at St. Francis, we have about 47 patients in the hospital that have COVID-19. For the last several days, we have had the highest patient volume in the state as far as patient facilities,” says John Bruchhaus, Co-Director of St. Francis Medical Center ICU.

But, with three holidays back to back, health officials everywhere are worried the surge will continue to climb.

“We’re concerned right now, due to the number of increased cases we are experiencing, that the numbers will become severely inflated over the next two to four weeks,” says Bruchhaus.

And, plans are already in place for an increase in testing.

“We have had a lot of planning and preparation around having available testing and we do have plenty of testing now. So, we encourage people to go out and get tested if they are asymptomatic,” says O’Neal.

Straitening the curve this holiday season will be difficult, but Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana residents have done it before, and we’ll do it again.