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West Cal-Cam Hospital officials: ‘We are at capacity’

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 4:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 10:34 AM CDT
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Sulphur, LA (KPLC) - Officials at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital said Thursday that the current COVID-19 surge has left the hospital at capacity.

Thursday morning there were 35 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at West Cal-Cam, according to Chief Nursing Officer Robbin Odom.

“Twelve (COVID-19 patients) in our ICU, which is our ICU capacity,” Odom said.

Hospital officials held the news conference Thursday on the 68th anniversary of West Cal-Cam opening its doors.

CEO Janie Fruge said the 35 COVID patients accounted for 70 percent of all patients at West Cal-Cam.

Thirty-three of those have not been vaccinated, according to Odom.

“Today we are at capacity and moving into our contingency plan,” Odom said. “We have prepared an additional patient care area with five ICU-type overflow beds to accommodate patients that would otherwise be held in our emergency department.”

Fruge said while there are some hospital beds available, West Cal-Cam does not have the staff to care for more patients. She and Odom said West Cal-Cam is facing the same staffing problems other hospitals are facing.

“Today we are sounding the alarm to let our community know that this COVID-19 surge has reached a critical level due to the lack of bed availability and the staffing requirements this kind of volume creates,” Fruge said. “(Hospital staff) need your help, we need your help, and we need it now. COVID cases are surging and our entire state is grappling with an unprecedented flood of very ill patients. Other non-COVID-related medical needs and emergencies continue.”

Odom said the age of those hospitalized with COVID is younger than previous surges - in the first surge patients hospitalized were in their upper 60s; now the average age is 61.

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