State, federal help to fight COVID-19 arrives amid surge in hospitalizations in the ArkLaTex

A number of state and federal healthcare workers have arrived in the ArkLaTex to help with the...
A number of state and federal healthcare workers have arrived in the ArkLaTex to help with the surge of COVID-19 patients in area hospitals.(KSLA)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 1:00 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:41 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A number of healthcare workers are making their way to the ArkLaTex from all over the country as hospitalizations hit record numbers in Louisiana. Meanwhile, hospitals face staffing shortages, making it difficult for them to keep up with the demand.

“With all the hospitals in the same situation, we don’t have an organic pool that we’re all pulling from to get new employees,” said Aphreikah Duhaney-West, chief operations officer for the academic medical center at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has been vocal about the need for help with staffing and has requested assistance from the federal government. Individual hospitals also reported their needs to the state.

“To me, it’s something that is bigger than myself,” said Judy Wine, one of the helping hands and team lead with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare.

Wine is one of 132 clinicians and providers who have arrived to help Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport increase COVID-19 patient capacity.

Duhaney-West said the rest of the additional healthcare workers are expected to be in town by the end of the week (Aug. 20). “The extra hands on deck will help us staff the beds we already have.”

CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier has received 10 paramedics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They’re assisting in the emergency department and the Infusion Clinic, where the monoclonal antibody therapy is administered to COVID-19 patients.

“The staffing has helped us tremendously with our efficiency,” said Dr. Steen Trawick, chief medical and executive officer for CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier.

Willis-Knighton Health System representatives told KSLA News 12 that the health system has submitted requests for extra help. It was previously reported being beyond capacity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it has deployed 559 people to state, tribal, local and territorial health agencies throughout the U.S. Thirty-four of those staff members were in Texas, 13 in Louisiana, two in Arkansas and four in Oklahoma as of Monday, Aug. 16.

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