Healthcare providers staying prepped as Lafayette’s coronavirus cases continue to rise

The gist: Nationally, there’s growing concern the U.S. may already be seeing signs of a second wave — researchers say it’s still the first wave — in states that have begun to reopen, including Louisiana’s neighbors in the South. Locally, healthcare providers are keeping an eye on a sustained growth in new cases.

Here’s the data: 

  • 47,172 (+4,122) cases statewide; 2,906 (+75) deaths
  • 3,157 (+576) cases in Acadiana (LDH Region 4); 193 deaths (+10) 
  • 1,202 (+305) cases in Lafayette; 32 deaths (+2) 

“Let’s just say we’re hoping for the best but prepared for what may come,” Lafayette General Health’s spokeswoman says of the uptick the hospital group is experiencing this week. Patricia Parks Thompson says the system’s five hospitals treating COVID-19 patients had been holding steady at about 20 patients last week (two on vents at the time and three others on vents pending results), but that number has increased more than 50 percent. The system is up to 32 positives today (four in ICU, one on a vent) with another 13 inpatients who have COVID-19 symptoms awaiting test results. “They’re treated as if they are positive, put in an isolation room,” Thompson says.

That’s an alarming increase. In fact, a few weeks ago the main campus, Lafayette General Medical Center, closed its fifth floor COVID-19 unit and only had a few patients on the fourth floor coronavirus unit. Last week the decision was made to reopen the fifth floor. 

Since the Phase 2 opening on June 5, Lafayette Parish’s case count has risen 41 percent. Excluding the 152 cases reported in a released backlog, the rise is 25%.

“We know that people are really starting to let their guard down,” Thompson says. “We’re seeing case counts rise across the state,” she adds, also noting the impact of increased testing. The LGH system’s peak, reached the day after Easter, was 72 patients. “We’re in very good shape for PPE [and staffing] this time,” she says.

Trend to watch this week: Over the weekend, LDH released another backlog of coronavirus cases dating to late April, registering almost 1,300 statewide on Saturday. Lafayette Parish added 152 new cases out of 3,530 tests, briefly reversing the recent climb in positivity. On Monday, Lafayette added 54 new cases for a cumulative positivity of 5.2%, while statewide positivity declined to 9.1%. — Additional reporting by Leslie Turk