Lafayette General Health lays out coronavirus surge plan, offers detailed picture of hospitalizations

Photo by Travis Gauthier
University Hospital & Clinics on Congress Street, part of the Lafayette General Health system

The gist: Lafayette General Health has added 12 ICU beds to its main campus in the Oil Center, increasing capacity to 46, which includes creation of a separate hot zone of 10 beds in order to preserve PPE while caring exclusively for COVID-19 positive patients. 

A first for the hospital, and the press. Those steps comprise Phases I and II of the hospital system’s surge plan — one it’s never before had to execute — which officials laid out in a first-ever virtual press briefing Tuesday afternoon. Phase III would activate 15 more ICU beds for non-COVID-19 patients in need of critical care, and Phase IV would open up six additional ICU beds where pediatrics is currently located.

As of this morning, the LGH system — which also includes University Hospital & Clinics in Lafayette, Acadia General in Crowley, St. Martin Hospital in Breaux Bridge and Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital in Kaplan — has a total of 62 positive COVID-19 inpatients. Twenty of those 62 patients are in ICU, and of those 13 are on ventilators (another 14 patients are on vents pending the results of their coronavirus tests). Of those totals, the main campus, Lafayette General Medical Center, is treating 12 COVID-19 patients in its ICU, and an additional eight are in ICU pending test results. Comparably, Our Lady of Lourdes’ system, which includes the Women’s & Children’s and Heart Hospital campuses, has a total of 13 COVID-19 patients — eight in ICU and five hospitalized as of 4 p.m. today, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The Lourdes system did not release the number of pending or suspected cases.

Lafayette General Health’s system wide ICU bed count is currently 64 — LGMC – 46, UHC – 10 and Acadia General – 8. Officials were quick to point out that other facilities in the system are treating COVID-19 patients, most of whom don’t end up in ICU. 

LHG got a head start. System President and CEO David Callecod said the local system has for weeks been in daily conference calls with Ochsner Health in New Orleans (the two systems are in the final stages of a merger), giving it a preview of what was to come. “We had a two- to three-week headstart by talking [to Ochsner],” he said, noting the direction LGH got specifically for PPE preservation, treatment protocol and surge planning. 

Moderated by Director of Comms Patricia Parks Thompson, the briefing included Callecod, Chief Nursing Officer Renee Delahoussaye, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amanda Logue and Chief Operating Officer Al Patin.

No layoffs in the system. “We have not had to lay off any employees at this point,” Patin said, noting there are no plans to do so, despite the postponement of elective procedures and other unexpected changes. People have been working from home and others, like surgical nurses and surgical technicians, have been going through an orientation process to work in other areas. Officials said they are doing their best to keep high-risk employees away from COVID-19 patient areas.

No racial disparity seen in the patient population locally — yet. Officials said the patient population seems pretty evenly distributed race-wise, though they noted there has been no deep analysis conducted. Louisiana and other parts of the country have reported a disproportionate number of African American patients dying from COVID-19

No language barriers. The hospital will continue to utilize LanguageLine Solutions, officials said, an electronic-based translation system that helps medical professionals communicate with non-English speaking patients. 

About the Author

A founding editor of both The Independent and ABiz and senior editor at The Times of Acadiana in the 1990s, Leslie Turk has worked in the newspaper business in Lafayette for almost three decades. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and The Acadiana Advocate. Email her at leslie@thecurrentla.com.

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