Hospitals in our area continuing to navigate the challenges of COVID-19. News 15's Leigha McNeil spoke to the President and CEO of Opelousas General, who says its facing a staffing shortage, much like the rest of the hospitals in our area.
It's a battle every day, fighting against an enemy they can't see. Kenneth Cochran, President and CEO of Opelousas General says about 50% of his staff has returned to work after quarantining or testing positive for COVID-19 this week, but he admits, "Well we're still short w're still short."
Causing them to pull from other areas in the hospital, Cochran said, "We did what i call pull to the core. M.y first priority is always preservation of life and right now. That's sort of the critical care, COVID, and outpatient scenario."
The shifting of hospital staff has reduced the frequency of other medical procedures. "We probably are doing 10 to 15% less surgeries then normal because we had to pull nurses to other carriers," said Cochran.
Just as they are constantly making changes, Cochran says the virus adapting too. "This thing is more contagious but I'm told there's a mutated version of the virus that's more virulent, which meat is stronger which also means people show symptoms faster. The volume of COVID patients is much higher but not as many of them are dying, which is really nice and then they don't typically stay in the hospital for as long," said Cochran.
It's the end of another month for front line workers battling COVID-19. Cochran believes the fight will undoubtedly be extended if everyday people dont do their part to stop the spread. He adds, "This isn't a conspiracy theory. If we want to have some type of normality any time before the end of the calendar year, we've just got to wear masks."
As staff return into the hospital, they are following enhanced procedures to eliminate the spread with in the hospital amongst patients and physicians.