Medical team arrives at state's largest hospital to assist in coronavirus surge

Staff Report
In a file photo, a nurse is shown wearing a mask.

The Disaster Medical Assistance Team from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services arrived Aug. 2 to assist Our Lady of the Lake hospital staff with the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The federal assistance team provides additional support to Louisiana’s largest hospital to care for the patients, increasing patient care capacity, and opening more beds, according to a news release.

The team consists of physicians, mid-level providers, nurses, paramedics, a respiratory therapist, pharmacists, and administrative support specialists who will serve at Our Lady of the Lake’s Regional Medical Center campus for the next month.

“We are pleased to welcome national disaster medical professionals to partner with our teams and support the ongoing surge of patients we are experiencing,” said Stephanie Manson, Chief Operating Officer at Our Lady of the Lake. “With their presence, we are able to admit patients faster, open an additional intensive care unit and provide assistance to our existing COVID-19 units. We appreciate our state and federal government’s support to answer our request for assistance.”

As of the morning of Aug. 2, Our Lady of the Lake staff were treating 155 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, with about one-third in intensive care. On average, one COVID-19 patient was being admitted every hour in addition to a steady influx of patients coming into the Emergency Department.

The hospital already instated an earlier pause on non-urgent inpatient procedures to make additional beds and staff available for COVID-19 patients.

“Our beds are full of patients with COVID-19 who are predominately unvaccinated. In the past two weeks, we have seen a rapid influx of younger patients under the age of 50 come into our hospitals with the Delta variant,” Manson said. “The best way to protect yourself and your family from the highly transmissible virus raging through our community is to get the vaccine.”