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Several New Orleans area hospitals suspend non-essential surgeries as COVID cases climb

The increase in COVID hospitalizations has started once again filling up hospitals as the delta variant and a low vaccination rate are factoring into the spread.

NEW ORLEANS — LCMC Health will suspend non-essential surgeries and procedures that could result in an overnight stay starting Thursday due to the increase in the number of COVID hospitalizations.

The announcement came late Monday afternoon from Dr. John Heaton, the President and Chief Medical Officer for LCMC Health.

Appointments for outpatient treatments will continue at this time.

LCMC operates hospitals in south Louisiana, including: Children’s Hospital, Touro, East and West Jefferson Medical Centers, New Orleans East Hospital and University Medical Center.

The increase in COVID hospitalizations has started once again filling up rooms in hospitals as the delta variant and a low vaccination rate are factoring into the spread. The delta variant is several times more transmissible than previous COVID viruses and the state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

“We are seeing cases rise rapidly in the community and in our hospitals,” Heaton said.

The announcement comes after a similar one issued by Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge.

The most common definition of non-essential surgeries seems to be procedures that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient.

Louisiana saw a jump of more than 7,500 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, according to new data released Monday by the Louisiana Department of Health. 

The state reported 7,592 new cases and 14 new deaths since Friday numbers were released.

Numbers released Monday include data from several days over the weekend, meaning they are higher than most days. Still, the trend isn't positive for the state, which is on the upswing of a fourth wave of coronavirus cases. 

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