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Flattening the Curve: Taking a Look at Louisiana’s Hospital Capacity

STUDIO 15 – The phrase “Flatten the Curve” is now in the mainstream. But how does that phrase relate to us, and how do we effectively incorporate it?

Louisiana leads the world in Covid-19 case growth over the first two weeks, according to Gary Wagner, Ph.D with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Mitigation efforts can help to reduce the number of daily cases and lessen the pressure on our healthcare system.

That’s why Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a Stay at Home Order for the entire state. It’s important for everyone – to the best of their ability – to comply with this order. By doing this, we can flatten this curve. We will continue to see new cases for a longer period of time, but it will be at far less of a strain on our healthcare system.

According to a study published by the Harvard Global Health Institute, there are about 13,000 total hospital beds in Louisiana. On average, there are only slightly less than 6,000 available hospital beds at any given time. Looking at the projections over the next six months, we will need more than 29,000 hospital beds to care for all patients administered to the hospital.

Now, let’s look at ICU bed numbers. There are about 1,500 total ICU beds in the state, and a little over 600 available ICU beds. According to these projections, we will need about 6,300 ICU beds over the next six months.

The percentage of all hospital beds that would need to be committed to Covid-19 patients over the next six months is about 212% For ICU beds it’s 416%. That means we would need about two and four times the number of hospital and and ICU beds, respectively, than we currently have in order to provide a bed for each patient.

That’s a burden we can help relieve our healthcare system of by following the Governor’s stay at home order. We are seeing how quickly this disease spreads. By adhering to social distancing, we can help limit the spread of the virus, “Flatten the Curve” and lessen the strain on our precious healthcare system.