A category 4 storm is terrifying during a normal hurricane season, but add COVID to the mix, and things get even dicier.  Hospitals in Louisiana are scrambling to make sure patients and staff are safe. MSNBC writes:

New Orleans is in the midst of a “severe outbreak” with a seven-day average of 220 new infections, according to the city’s Covid-19 dashboard. Across the state, more than 3,400 new cases were confirmed as of Friday, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. At least 2,684 people are hospitalized in Louisiana with Covid-19.

Normally patients at hospitals in the most vulnerable areas would be moved, but Governor John Bel Edwards pointed out this is “beyond what our normal plans are.”

“The hospitals don’t have room. We don’t have any place to bring those patients — not in state, not out of state.”

The New York Times reports:

Oschner Health, one of the largest local medical systems, informed the state that it had limited capacity to accept storm-related transfers, especially from nursing homes, the group’s chief executive, Warner L. Thomas, said. Many of Oschner’s hospitals, which were caring for 836 Covid patients on Friday, had invested in backup power and water systems to reduce the need to evacuate, he said.

The pandemic also complicated efforts to discharge more patients than usual before the storm hits. For many Covid patients who require oxygen, “going home isn’t really an option,” said Stephanie Manson, chief operating officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

Hospitals are being asked to make sure their generators are working, and that they have enough water, oxygen, and other supplies.

Young patients are especially of concern. The Times writes, “The crush of Covid-19 cases at Children’s Hospital New Orleans grew so dire this month that the state called in a federal ‘surge team’ of emergency responders to help.” The Washington Post spotlighted Children’s Hospital of New Orleans where children as young as two months are fighting serious cases of COVID. Watch their report above.