Convention Center to become a makeshift hospital when system is overwhelmed

COVID-19 patients could soon be treated at Convention Center
COVID-19 patients could soon be treated at Convention Center(wvue)
Updated: Mar. 26, 2020 at 6:33 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - COVID-19 patients could end up at the Morial Convention Center if the hospital system becomes overwhelmed.

The Convention Center is getting transformed. Beds are being brought in. Engineering modifications are happening and staff is being organized.

Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the State Department of Health, says the state is planning for a possibility of 3,000 to 4,000 more COVID-19 patients to enter the hospital system.

That’s people who will need medical attention because of COVID-19.

First, he says hospital capacity will fill up. Then, the state will begin treating patients in other health facilities, like long term care facilities and surgical centers.

Once those places fill up with patients, the state plans to begin treating patients at the Convention Center.

He points out, as the state plans for this, state leaders must think about a lot more than just capacity.

They are trying to secure the medical staff to handle this and the biggest concern right now is medical equipment, in particular, the number of ventilators that are needed very soon.

“We have about 500 ventilators currently in the New Orleans area and we know that of all COVID-19 patients in a hospital about 25 percent of those are on ventilators right now so you do the math, we’re expecting a surge of 3 to 4 thousand additional patients over the next week. That put us in a hole of a few hundred ventilators right now. we have some coming in but we need more than what we have,” Joseph Kanter, M.D. said.

Dr. Kanter says right now hospitals are working together and sending ventilators back and forth to other facilities to make sure there’s enough.

We know that more ventilators are coming to this area but it won’t be enough, so there is a lot going on to secure more and fast.

Dr. Kanter wants the public to know we have not seen the worst of COVID 19 and he says taking those precautions are extremely important.

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