How Texas, Louisiana health systems prepared for Hurricane Laura

Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Print  | 

Hurricane Laura made landfall early Aug. 27, slamming the Texas and Louisiana coasts, the New York Times reports. Hospitals in both states have been preparing for the potentially devastating effects of the hurricane.

Several hospitals are moving critically ill patients to hospitals in areas less likely to be affected by the hurricane. Medical Center of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur transferred 65 percent of its patients to hospitals further away from the coast, The Washington Post reports. COVID-19 patients who were not severely ill also were moved. After the storm, when hospital volumes usually jump, the hospital plans to triage those with COVID-19 symptoms in a separate waiting room with negative pressure, CMO Gary Mennie, MD, told the Post.

Other hospitals are preparing by closing clinics and suspending some services. Christus Southeast Texas Health System in Beaumont canceled elective surgeries and has backup power generators in place, the Post reports. The hospital has 30 COVID-19 patients who will be kept separate from other patients in the hospital.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston canceled all elective surgeries and procedures and closed all clinics for the remainder of the week.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

● Houston-based Harris Health System is closing all outpatient healthcare facilities Aug. 27.
Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston has postponed all elective, nonurgent surgeries and procedures Aug. 27, and it is closing several outpatient facilities this week.
● Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center closed its League City, Texas, location through Aug. 28, and closed all its other locations Aug. 27.
Texas Children's Hospital in Houston is rescheduling all outpatient clinic appointments and elective surgeries set for Aug. 27, and it is closing several clinic locations.

KPLC 7, a dual NBC/CW+-affiliate TV station, reports:

● New Orleans-based Oschner Health closed all hospitals and outpatient facilities and rescheduled elective procedures. Ochsner Christus Health Clinics closed Aug. 25 and will remain closed for the rest of the week.
Lake Charles (La.) Memorial Health System canceled all outpatient services, procedures and surgeries and closed medical group offices.

Lafayette (La.) General Health closed all clinics, diagnostics, imaging and urgent care locations and rescheduled Aug. 27 procedures.

McGovern Medical School in Houston has closed its flood gates, and Houston Methodist said it is prepared to do the same if need be, ABC 13 Houston reports.

The HHS emergency response division has sent disaster assistance teams to the areas and is coordinating with Federal Emergency Management Agency, Politico reports in its newsletter.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of hospital preparations amid the hurricane. This article was updated Aug. 27 at 10:15 a.m. to reflect the latest updates.

More articles on patient flow: 
New Hampshire hospital postpones surgeries after equipment failure
Illinois hospital to end inpatient emergency services
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