Local hospital prepares for potential COVID-19 surge from Omicron variant

This comes as front line workers were finally catching a break from the pandemic
The CDC announced Friday it was making a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine available for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:18 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Front line workers at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital were finally catching a break as vaccination rates went up in the area. Now, they are preparing in case there is a COVID surge caused by the Omicron variant or the holidays.

Dr. Asma Khan, a physician in the emergency department of the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, says they have seen a steady decline of COVID patients since October.

Although, the Omicron variant has officially emerged in the U.S. today, the first case making way in California. That means, it’s time for hospital staff to get ready for a potential COVID surge.

Just as the state mandate allowed hospitals to lift their mask mandate, those hospitals are now preparing for the possibility of another surge.

“We are well aware and advised to be prepared for, and if there is a surge,” said Dr. Khan.

This comes as staff at West Cal Cam were just starting to feel the stress of the pandemic lighten up a bit.

“In a sense, did we catch a break? Yeah you know,” said Dr. Khan.

This time last year, hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, and no vaccine yet.

“In the emergency department I think, is there ever a time that stressful? I don’t know,” said Dr. Khan.

Now, a year later, Dr. Asma Khan says morale is up at the hospital among employees and patients, and even when COVID patients come into the hospital she says most of them are experiencing mild symptoms, as opposed to when the virus first emerged.

“As of this morning we only have one COVID patient in the hospital right now,” said Dr. Khan.

She says the Omicron variant could lead to another surge and they must stay on top of things. She says they are continually monitoring guidelines going forward.

“Awareness is our key. Our team here at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is very well prepared to respond to any surge, should there be a surge,” said Dr. Khan.

They are closely monitoring the guidelines from the World Health Organization, C.D.C. and the Louisiana Department of Health. Even though they are preparing, they are hoping case numbers stay down.

“Hopefully there won’t be, but we can never know with this variant going on,” said Dr. Khan.

If Omicron causes an increase in cases, West Cal Cam staff will be ready.

“Doctors, nurses are here to standby to help with any questions or concerns you might have,” said Dr. Khan.

Dr. Khan urges people to continue following COVID precautions like hand washing and social distancing, along with getting vaccinated.

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