SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Doctors warned that there would be a spike in COVID-19 cases thanks to Thanksgiving gatherings and local health officials say it has arrived. A record number of patients being treated at hospitals in Shreveport and Bossier.
Health care workers are angry and disheartened as the the system approaches its brink.
According to Chief Administrative Officer of Willis-Knighton Health Systems Brian Crawford, the four facilities of WK and the other health systems of Christus Health and Ochsner LSU Health are currently treating 102 patients for the virus in the eight days since Thanksgiving. Crawford expressed how workers are frustrated by people in the community who have made the situation worse by refusing to listen to medical experts and disregarding simple health precautions.
“It’s tough. We’re seeing that nationally and here locally with a rise. You know, someone told me the other day, they said there were ‘so over COVID and weren’t going to wear their mask anymore.’ I told them that I wish I could take them up to my ICU and show them the patients there. From five to 95 years-old, those people are up there fighting for their lives. With everything they have. And some of them don’t make it,” Crawford said.
“But those of us in health care, we can’t be ‘over it’. First responders, police, we’re not over it. We can’t be. Willis-Knighton is always going to be here for care and those people are doing everything they can. They’re exhausted, they’re tired.”
“All we’re asking you to do is put on a mask. Stay six feet away from each other. Avoid large social gatherings. It’s not that much to ask. If you don’t think of yourself and others. At least think of the health care workers who are at their breaking points. Our emergency rooms are overflowing,” Crawford said.
The winter months add to the health care overload. More people are treated for congestive heart issues and breathing-related conditions during this time of year already, in a normal year. Now add in COVID-19. A spike every time holiday gatherings are happening. Then there’s a national nursing shortage, which is also experienced here locally. It’s a recipe for a health care system disaster.
Crawford said the dedication of the staff to step up and care for people has been amazing. With resources stretched so thin, employees from all different departments are responding to the COVID unit demand.
Unfortunately, Crawford said every hospital is bracing for conditions to get even worse in the Christmas holiday. He said he wishes the people who think the coronavirus is a joke would change their minds before more lives are lost before presents are opened. The notion of a “dark winter” is expected.
“It’s going to be very dark. For being treated for COVID. Those facing these challenges including the healthcare industry over the next month or so. Before we actually see some light at the end of the tunnel. So we need those precautions,” Crawford said.
He adds that most people he sees in the community are following precautions which is greatly appreciated.
“I think most people are doing their part for humanity.”
He said the vaccine is arriving soon and conditions will start to improve. In the meantime, do not go to the emergency room unless it’s an absolute emergency because resources are strained and many doctors and nurses are out with the virus.