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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

Go deeper

Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul COVID-19 addresses rising cases in the state and the new variant Omicron at a press conference in November. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that some state hospitals will be ordered to halt certain elective surgeries in an effort to combat a recent COVID-19 surge, Hochul said at a press conference.

Why it matters: New York has struggled with hospital capacity throughout the pandemic and postponed nonessential procedures before.

Updated Dec 6, 2021 - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

Dec 6, 2021 - Health

CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised COVID-19 travel advisories to their highest levels for a number of countries on Monday, including France and Portugal.

Why it matters: The detection of the new Omicron variant last month has spurred fears of a new wave of virus infections.