Louisiana hospitals contend with hurricane damage amid COVID-19: 8 things to know Aug. 31

Louisiana hospitals are grappling simultaneously with COVID-19 patients and storm damage in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which has wreaked havoc over the southeastern part of the state.  

Here are eight things to know on Aug. 31:

1. Ochsner Health reported some roof damage and water intrusion at Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway in New Orleans. The health system said Aug. 30 that it has enough back-up power and water to keep the facility fully functioning.

2. Sixty-five patients at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, La., and Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma, La., were evacuated Aug. 30 to Ochsner hospitals in Louisiana. Emergency Departments at those facilities are open and operating.

3. Ochsner said Aug. 30 that it would also evacuate patients at River Place Behavioral Health Hospital in LaPlace, La., because of power and water losses, and would help Houma-based Terrebonne General Medical Center, a partner facility not owned or operated by Ochsner, evacuate about 100 patients. Ochsner said its patients and patients from Terrebonne General Medical Center facilities would be transferred to other Ochsner facilities in the state, including in Morgan City, New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport.

4. At Galliano, La.-based Lady of the Sea General Hospital, all patients were moved to other facilities, Karen Collins, CEO of the medical center, told CNN. She told the news channel: "Our staff worked tirelessly under extreme conditions to continue care for our patients throughout Hurricane Ida, and because of their efforts, all of our patients came through this event safely."

5. Lady of the Sea clinics announced Aug. 27 that it was closing clinics and pharmacies beginning Aug. 28. The hospital said it aims to open at least one of its rural health clinics and a community pharmacy this week, according to CNN.

6. Mark Kline, MD, physician-in-chief at Children's Hospital New Orleans, told public radio station WBUR his hospital sustained "considerable" damage from the hurricane, including water intrusion on the ground floor and water coming through the roof. He said there was no major structural damage, and patients and staff remained safe inside. The hospital continues to run on back-up emergency power.

7.  The damage from Hurricane Ida comes amid the latest COVID-19 wave. As of Aug. 30, Louisiana had an average 2,384 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to The New York Times.

8. HHS on Aug. 30 declared public health emergencies in Mississippi and Louisiana because of the hurricane. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Aug. 30 that the federal government is closely coordinating with state and local officials to support the needs of areas affected by the hurricane. She told reporters: "Prior to the storm, we had more than 300 federally deployed healthcare personnel on the ground supporting COVID surge response in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Department of Veterans Affairs has made beds available, prior to the hurricane, to support local hospitals and will be available to assist in response. And HHS and FEMA are working to assess/deploy additional assets as needed."

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