NEW ORLEANS — After soaring for weeks, the number of COVID patients in New Orleans area hospitals is finally tapering off.
According to the state health department, hospitalizations in Louisiana are at their lowest point since November.
“I’m glad things are looking a little bit better now,” said Dr. Jerry Zifodya an ICU physician at University Medical Center in New Orleans. “It was very busy and draining. It’s been a long year, really.”
The hospital peaked at 170 COVID patients just a few weeks ago. There are now just 17 patients with only 3 requiring critical care.
“It wears on us as providers,” Zifodya said. “It wears on the nurses. I think everyone at some point was just emotionally spent with how difficult a time it’s been.”
Ebani Peyton is a nurse practitioner at West Jefferson Medical Center. She agrees it’s been a trying time for her and her colleagues.
“Sometimes you don’t even make it home, you know sometimes you have to take a deep breath and cry at the red light,” Peyton said.
Peyton says with COVID numbers dropping, things are calm at the hospital for the first time in a while.
“We had to come together as a team, I must say, to make sure we could do everything we could for the patients and make sure everybody got the care that they needed,” Peyton said.
She’s now looking forward to taking some time off.
“Oh man, it’s been a while,” Peyton said.
Back at UMC, Dr. Zifodya says with more people now getting the COVID vaccine, he hopes we are seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
“Am allowed to cross my fingers,” Zifodya said. “I really hope so. I really hope so.”
Both healthcare professionals say now is not the time to let down our guard. That means we need to continue to mask up, stay 6 feet apart and avoid large gatherings. They warn, until the Coronavirus is truly in the rearview, the next big surge could be just around the corner.