Packed with virus patients, Louisiana hospitals await Ida

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021 file photo, Medical notations are written on a window of a COVID-19 patient’s room in an intensive care unit at the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, La. Louisiana hospitals already packed with patients from the latest coronavirus surge are now bracing for a powerful Category 4 hurricane, which is expected to crash ashore Sunday, Aug. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Louisiana hospitals brimming with patients from the latest coronavirus surge are bracing for the added woe of a powerful, oncoming hurricane. Ida is expected to slam ashore as a fierce Category 4 hurricane Sunday with winds of up to 130 mph.

It comes as hospitals and their intensive care units are packed with patients from Louisiana’s fourth coronavirus surge, one brought on by the contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates statewide. Gov. John Bel Edwards says evacuation of hospitals in threatened areas is something that would normally be considered under other scenarios, but that’s impractical now because hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients around Louisiana and beyond.

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