Aug 28, 2021 - Health

New Orleans hospitals prepare for Hurricane Ida while near capacity with COVID-19 cases

Picture of people boarding up a building in New Orleans
Workers board up shop windows with plywood ahead of Hurricane Ida's arrival in New Orleans. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hospitals in New Orleans near capacity from a surge in coronavirus cases are bracing for Hurricane Ida, which is expected to hit Louisiana on Sunday.

The big picture: New Orleans is currently experiencing a severe virus outbreak, according to city data. About 68% of all hospital beds and 84% of all ICU beds in Louisiana are filled as Ida is approaching, Business Insider reports.

  • This month at a press briefing, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state's health care system "could have a major failure."

What they're saying: "Once again we find ourselves dealing with a natural disaster in the midst of a pandemic," said Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans public health director, per CNBC.

  • "Our plea and our hope is that everyone will prepare for both very seriously and very thoroughly."

What's happening: Hospitals and medical centers in New Orleans are preparing for the dual emergency by increasing staff, ordering more medical supplies and limiting the amount of patients in hospitals who are there with non-emergencies, CNBC notes.

  • Since Hurricane Katrina, hospitals in the city have learned to prepare for natural disasters, and already have plans in case there are power outages and water loss, for example.

Between the lines: New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Friday told residents that there was no time to evacuate and they should be ready to ride out Ida at home.

Go deeper: Hurricane Ida to hit Louisiana Sunday as a Category 4 storm

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