COVID-19: West Cal Hospital at full capacity

Published 9:30 am Saturday, August 14, 2021

By Rita LeBleu

Southwest Daily News

Hospitals across the country are seeing a surge in COVID hospitalizations. That includes West Calcasieu-Cameron Hospital in Sulphur. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, WCCH reported that it is at full capacity and moving to a surge contingency plan.

“We are sounding the alarm to let our community know that this COVID-19 surge has reached a critical level due to lack of bed availability and the staffing requirements this kind of volume creates,” said Janie Fruge, WCCH CEO.

WCCH strongly encourages vaccinations, and is awaiting final authorization from the FDA before requiring the vaccine from all staff. That approval is expected to come in early September.

“The vaccine is our top defense in the fight against COVID-19,” said June McBride, RN, CIC, Infection Prevention Coordinator.

According to health professionals from WCCH and from hospitals throughout the country, the vaccine offers excellent protection against the Delta variant. The COVID vaccines are highly effective at reducing (but not eliminating) the chances of becoming severely ill and dying from COVID-19.

“Our entire team, the nurses, physicians and our support staff, are concerned that so many people in our area are unvaccinated,” Fruge said. “With the Delta variant, we’re seeing more of the unvaccinated population requiring hospitalization.”

“The Delta variant is nearly twice as contagious as previous strains of the virus with higher viral loads, ‘’ said Mc-Bride.

According to the World Health Organization, Delta “is faster, it is fitter; it will pick off the more vulnerable more efficiently than previous variants.

WCCH emergency room visits are up 33 percent since the surge, extending wait times. WCCH is a 107-bed hospital with 12 ICU beds. WCCH has been holding some patients in the emergency department due to lack of available ICU beds.

Fruge said WCCH nurses, physicians and staff continue to demonstrate resilience and commitment, as they have been for the 18 months that have included the pandemic, this surge and 4 weather disasters.

“They are my heroes,” Fruge said.

WCCH is a COVID vaccine site administering the Pfizer vaccine. To schedule an appointment at WCCH, call the COVID-19 vaccine appointment line (337) 528-4712. Additional vaccine appointments can be scheduled at the following locations: Hackberry Rural Health Clinic, (337) 762-3762, Johnson Bayou Rural Health Clinic, (337) 569-2245 and Vinton Medical Clinic: (337) 589-5951.

WCCH continues to encourage washing hands often, wearing a mask in public settings and staying home if sick.