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Ochsner hospitals seeing decline in COVID-19 patients in Louisiana, CEO says

Thomas said Friday that Ochsner's New Orleans-area hospitals have about 400 COVID-19 patients, about half of the number they had at their peak.

NEW ORLEANS — COVID-19 cases at Ochsner hospitals are decreasing, and hospital staff believe if the trend continues they will be able to move resources back to surgeries and procedures that aren't coronavirus related, according to Ochsner's CEO, Warner Thomas. 

Thomas said Friday that Ochsner's New Orleans-area hospitals have about 400 COVID-19 patients, about half of the number they had at their peak. 

And the number of people coming into the hospitals with coronavirus symptoms is shrinking, he said. 

"I think that we anticipate over the next several days or a week or so, we'll start back into more normal operations, getting surgeries going and getting more colonoscopies and other types of procedures that, frankly, have been delayed over the past several weeks," Thomas said.  

The coronavirus outbreak in Louisiana scrambled hospital resources across the state to respond and put doctors in the difficult position of having to cancel non-emergency surgeries because of the fear of contamination and resource drain. 

"We have patients that have been delayed, and frankly it's okay for a week or two, but it's not okay for a long period of time," Thomas said. "So we've got to get back to taking care of those folks." 

In total, Thomas estimates that Ochsner has treated about 7,000 COVID-19 patients. But only about 2,000 of those patients actually required hospitalization. The rest were sent home. 

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