Emergency Room

SHREVEPORT, La. – Hospitals in northwest Louisiana are filling up with patients, as COVID-19 cases climb across the state.

According to data on the Louisiana Department of Health’s website, roughly 79 percent of all hospital beds in the region that covers northwest Louisiana are full, and nearly 84 percent of intensive care beds in the region are full.

Dr. Martha Whyte, director of LDH Region 7, said as new COVID-19 are surging statewide, northwest Louisiana is in a worse position than other parts of the state.

Unlike other regions, Whyte said Region 7 never flattened the curve to a low enough point after the first wave of the virus in the spring. She said while other regions saw as few as 20 coronavirus patients at the hospital at their low point, northwest Louisiana never got out of the triple digits.

“So now as the entire state are seeing these numbers climb, we are really climbing," Whyte said. "We haven't really gotten into our flu season, our winter respiratory viruses -- all the things that put people in the hospital normally this time of year -- will we have beds for those people?"

A spokeswoman for Ochsner LSU Health said bed space is not much of an issue at the hospital because of a plan it implemented in the spring. The hospital moved pediatric and obstetric patients to another campus, effectively doubling the number intensive care beds in the Kings Highway campus.

A spokeswoman for Willis-Knighton said staffing has been the biggest issue for the healthcare provider, which has been reassigning staff between its many facilities across the region in order to address ongoing needs.

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