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Healthcare Ready is ENGAGED for Hurricane Ida
Tuesday, August 31, 2021: This report includes an assessment of the potential impacts to healthcare and public health due to Hurricane Ida.

High-Level Situation Summary
  • As of Tuesday, August 31, Ida has downgraded from a Tropical Storm to a Tropical Depression. At 5 pm ET today, Ida was moving across the Tennessee Valley and is gradually tracking northeast over the next couple of days.  
    • Heavy rain and flood threats will continue to spread through Tennessee and the Ohio Valleys into the central and southern Appalachians through Wednesday. 
    • The threat for a few tornadoes will be centered today across eastern Alabama, western Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. 
    • The National Hurricane Center has issued its final advisory on Ida. Public Advisories from the Weather Prediction Center will be the source for updates as long as Ida remains a flood threat. The latest information on Tropical Depression Ida can be found here.  
Expected Impacts
  • Power outages: More than one million customers across the state of Louisiana are still without power and there is no clear timeline on when the power will be restored. With heat advisories issued today and the rest of the week, along with no A/C for a vast number of electricity customers in the state, this means a substantial portion of the population will be vulnerable to heat illness.   
    • Power company Entergy said more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines were knocked out of service along with 216 substations along the southeast region.  
    • Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans are the most impacted parishes with 100,000 – 200,000 affected customers each. 
    • In Mississippi, about 50,000 people are without power and in Georgia, about 20,000 people are without power. 
  • Transportation: Trees, power lines, and other storm debris from Ida’s impacts continue to be the cause for road and highway closures across the affected regions. As of Tuesday, August 31, Louisiana 511 is reporting road closures up and down central Louisiana as well as the southeastern part of the state. 
  • COVID-19: Due to ambiguous mask mandates and lower vaccination rates in the Gulf coast surrounding states, the increasing surge of COVID-19 infections will likely impact evacuation and sheltering. We are tracking this closely and will continue to report any situation reports and analysis we have.
  • Resource Staging: Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced that the State of Florida is deploying resources to assist Louisiana and Mississippi with recovery from Hurricane Ida.
    • FDEM continues to work closely with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi to identify remaining needs. 
    • More than 1,100 Florida utility restoration personnel are deployed to support restoration efforts. 
    • In addition, more than 320 members of the Tennessee Army National Guard have departed today for Louisiana to assist with relief and recovery operations. They will assist with security in the affected areas, provide high water vehicles to support rescue and recovery operations, and provide vehicles to transport people out of the affected areas, among other tasks.
Emergency Declarations
  • On Monday, August 30, US Department of Health and Human Services determined that a public health emergency exists and has existed since August 26, 2021, in the State of Louisiana, and since August 28, 2021, in the State of Mississippi. 
    • Over 5,200 National Guard personnel have been activated to Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama to help in recovery efforts. 
    • FEMA has deployed over 3,600 employees. 
  • Additionally, on Monday, August 30, the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced an Emergency Declaration that provides truck drivers flexibility to move critical freight to areas damaged by Ida - making it easier to supply essential items such as food, water, fuel, and power restoration equipment to help support emergency relief efforts. 
    • Affected states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.
  • Louisiana   
    • State: A State of Emergency has been in effect for all parishes since Thursday 8/26.   
    • Federal: A Federal disaster declaration was approved for all parishes on Thursday 8/26. This declaration authorized FEMA to identify, mobilize, and provide equipment and resources needed to respond to the emergency.   
    • Transportation waivers:  
      • Weight Waiver in place for commercial motor carriers travelling on public highways in Louisiana for the purpose of emergency preparedness and disaster relief. For these carriers, the total gross weight of any vehicle or combination of vehicles shall note exceed 88 thousand pounds.  
      • Toll Waiver in place for tolls under the operation of the state of Louisiana, specifically LA 1 Toll Bridge from Leeville, Louisiana to Grand Isle and Port Fourchon.  
    • Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center are at LEVEL I full activation
      • More information on the Louisiana's emergency activation levels, can be found here.  
  • Mississippi  
    • State: A State of Emergency has been in effect since August 28. It allows the state government to deploy state resources and state assets for the purpose of search and rescue.   
    • Federal: A Federal disaster declaration was approved for the state on August 28. 
      • Any expenses accrued by the state and specific counties in preparation of Hurricane Ida are now eligible for federal reimbursement. 
  • Alabama  
    • State: Governor Kay Ivey declared a State of Emergency for coastal and western counties on August 28.  
Evacuations and Curfews
  • Louisiana: 
    • Following the widespread impacts of Ida, several parishes are announcing curfews and assessing the damages to determine whether or not residents are able to return to their homes. 
      • Terrebonne Parish 
        • Residents who had evacuated should wait until further notice before returning home. 
        • Curfew is still in place until 6 pm. 
      • Lafourche Parish  
        • Residents will be allowed to return home beginning at noon today, August 31. 
        • Checkpoints are set up, and you must show proof of residency such as your driver’s license. A nightly curfew is now in place from 7 pm to 6 am. 
      • Jefferson Parish  
        • Called for a mandatory curfew, which will be in effect from Tuesday, 6 pm until at least Wednesday, 6 am . 
        • Residents who had evacuated should wait until further notice before returning home. 
      • Orleans Parish 
        • Residents who had evacuated should wait until further notice before returning home. 
      • St. John Parish 
        • Curfew remains from 6 pm to 7 pm. 
        • Many roads are blocked by trees, power poles, and debris blown by the storm, creating unsafe travel conditions 
      • St. Charles Parish 
        • Curfew remains from 8 pm to 5 am.  
      • Plaquemine Parish 
        • Residents and individuals conducting official business are allowed to enter 
      • East Baton Rouge Parish 
        • The curfew will remain in place, beginning at dusk, August 31, lasting until dawn on September 1. 
  • Mississippi 
    • Curfews for Harrison County and Hancock County were lifted yesterday, August 30.  
    • Residents are encouraged to stay home unless it is necessary to leave. 
    • There is currently no curfew for Jackson County. 
  • Alabama 
Sheltering
  • Louisiana  
    • To find updated information on statewide shelters, individuals can text “lashelter” to 898-211. They can also call 211 to speak with representatives who will determine whether the individual needs to be diverted to a medical shelter. 
      • New Orleans residents should text DELTA to 888777 or text NOLAREADY to 77295. 
  • Mississippi  
    • Shelter openings by county are available from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.  
  • Other Organizations 
    • Individuals can also search for open American Red Cross shelters here
      • They can call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or download the free Red Cross Emergency app for shelter locations. 
    • The non-profit Airbnb.org is offering to support responders and displaced households in need of a temporary place to stay.   
      • For more information about placement for individuals in need, please reach out to alerts@healthcareready.org and we will connect you directly with Airbnb.
Food and Water Distribution Sites
  • New Orleans officials and their nonprofit partners are distributing food and water at various locations on Tuesday, August 31 for residents in need of supplies after Hurricane Ida.  
  • The following locations will pass out meals, water, and have charging stations for electronic devices available: 
    • New Philippians Missionary Baptist, 5234 North Claiborne Ave. in the Lower Ninth Ward 
    • Maria Goretti Church, 7300 Crowder in the East, 1:30 pm  
    • Tarps at the Arthur Monday Center on 1111 Newton Street in Algiers from 1 pm to 5 pm 
    • St. Roch Park, 1800 St. Roch Ave., 1 pm 
    • 2514 Washington Ave., 1:30 pm  
    • Trinity Lutheran Church, 5234 N. Claiborne Ave., 1:30 pm 
    • St. Maria Goretti Church, 7300 Crowder Blvd., 1:30 pm  
    • Rosenwald Recreation Center, 1120 S. Broad Ave., 3 pm  
    • Life Transformation Center, 8606 Marks St., 4 pm 
  • NOLAReady is also offering free meals at multiple locations that can be found here
Communications
  • Healthcare facilities across the affected areas are working to restore communications, which may cause delays in reporting unmet needs. Healthcare Ready is in communication with a few companies and has asked for healthcare facilities to be prioritized and will share that information as it becomes available.Verizon announced on August 30 that the company will provide unlimited calling, texting, and data to its customers in Louisiana and Mississippi through September 5 due to Ida. 
    • As of August 30, Verizon reports that they are using backup generators to run their cell sites and switching centers as well as having network and response teams on standby 24/7. 
      • Network operations in downtown Baton Rouge and New Orleans withstood the storm and are operational (Verizon is running overlapping coverage in metropolitan areas). 
      • Verizon is currently targeting these areas as they currently have gaps in coverage: coastal LA, Thibodaux, Morgan City, Houma, Hammond, southern coastline of Lake Pontchartrain. 
  • T-Mobile announced on August 29 that the company will be offering free talk, text and unlimited data from August 29 through September, for T-Mobile, Sprint consumer and business customers (except Enterprise and Government accounts), and T-Mobile Pre-Paid who are not already on unlimited plans in select areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.  
    • As of As of August 30, T-Mobile announced that their wireless network is 70% operational across Louisiana and Alabama, and that Wi-Fi calling is a suitable alternative if Wi-Fi connection is available.  
    • As a reminder, Metro by T-Mobile customers always have unlimited talk and text on all plans. 
  • Hurricane Ida had caused significant impacts to ATT network in Louisiana from the massive power outages and storm damage. Alabama is operating normally and there is only a small wireless impact in Mississippi at this time. 
    • As of August 31, AT&T announced that their recovery and restoration efforts have made substantial progress in the affected areas.  
    • They are running on generators as they deal with damages to their infrastructure, and currently have 13 mobile satellite towers on air to help impacted areas. 
      • LA is operating at more than 85% of normal capacity. 
      • Wireless networks in AL are operating normally. 
      • MS is experiencing minimal impact to their wireless service. 
    • AT&T announced on August 30 that the company will be waiving overage charges to provide unlimited talk, text and data for AT&T Postpaid & PREPAID customers with billing addresses in 388 zip codes across Louisiana and Mississippi from August 29 through September 4. 
      • Customers in these areas may still receive alerts during these dates, but accounts will reflect the credits and/or waived data, voice and text charges. 
  • No Public Service Access Points (PSAPs) were reported as being affected in Mississippi or Alabama. The Orleans, St. Johns and St. Bernard’s Parish Sherrif’s offices have rerouted their 911 emergency calls to another PSAP with location information provided. 
    • 28.1% of wireless cellphone sites in affected areas are out of service. 
      • 52.1 % of Louisiana cell sites are out of service. 
      • 1% of Alabama cell sites are out of service. 
      • 13.9% of Mississippi cell sites are out of service. 
  • There are 2 Television Stations (WGNO, WNOL-TV), 3 FM Radio Stations (KVDU, WNOE, WRNOE-FM) and 2 AM Radio Stations (WODT, WYLD) reported being out of service. 
Access and Reentry
  • No significant changes since August 30 (8/30 sit-rep). 
  • Louisiana
    • Louisiana has a statewide credentialing and access program to facilitate post disaster re-entry. The system permits individuals and organizations to register for re-entry credentials. Access and re-entry decisions are communicated by the Louisiana State Police and the Emergency Responder ID Trust Network (ER-ITN). 
  • Mississippi 
    • Mississippi also utilizes the ER-ITN statewide credentialing and access program to facilitate post disaster re-entry. The system permits individuals and organizations to register for re-entry credentials. Access and re-entry decisions are communicated by the Mississippi State Police and ER-ITN. 
  • Alabama 
    • Alabama does not have a statewide credentialing and access program to facilitate post disaster re-entry. County-level Emergency Management Agencies are authorized to manage access and re-entry decisions. 
Port Closing
  • As of August 28, at 2 pm CT, the US Coast Guard’s Caption of the Port (COTP) New Orleans set Port Condition ZULU for the Lower Mississippi River. Traffic control measures that are in effect include no vessel movement (entry or transit) on the Lower Mississippi River in affected areas.  
    • As of August 30, the Port of Southern Louisiana is operating on restricted Operations as per the COTP. 
      • Essential personnel are assessing the situation and will follow up with updates as soon as possible.   
    • At the Port of New Orleans, the New Orleans Terminal and Ports America for containerized operations are closed though August 30. Additionally, Empire, Coastal Cargo, Gulf Stream Marine, and Ports American will be closed for breakbulk operations through August 30. 
      • Port NOLA crews are assessing Ida’s impacts and are working to resume operation safely and as quickly as possible. No major damage has been reported to their facilities.  
      • The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal will be closed until further notice. 
    • The St Bernard Port reported that all maritime operations ceased starting 6 pm on August 27.  
      • The Administration Office is closed until Monday, September 6.  
      • They anticipate re-opening on Tuesday, September 7. 
Healthcare Response Updates and Needs
  • Emergency Medical Services
    • 911 emergency services have been fully restored in Orleans Parish
      • Residents should call 911 for emergencies and 311 (504-658-2299) for non-emergencies. 
      • Residents with medical needs can sign up for the Special Needs Registry at  specialneeds.nola.gov or call 3-1-1 to sign up. 
    • 911 emergency services have been fully restored in Terrebonne Parish
    • The Terrebonne Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness announced the following fire stations have suspended service in Terrebonne Parish: Bayou Black Fire Department, Houma Fire Department, Coteau Fire Department, Little Caillou Fire Department, Dularge Fire Department, Grand Caillou Fire Department, Village East Fire Department and Bourge Fire Department. 
      • The Bayou Cane Fire Department can only respond to fire alarms.  
  • Healthcare Facilities
    • Several provider types subject to CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule, including nursing homes and long-term care centers, must ensure that temperatures in patient care settings do not exceed 81 degrees during power outages. Facilities that cannot meet the requirement may need to consider evacuating for the health and safety of patients.   
    • Hospitals  
      • FEMA reported four Louisiana hospitals were damaged, 39 medical facilities were operating on generator power, and many patients are being evacuated. 
      • Official says four hospitals and nursing homes evacuated in Jefferson Parish, La., with the remaining still sheltering in place. 
      • Per Monday evening (8/31), there were more than 2,600 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and another 500 on ventilators, which require electricity to run. 
        • The State will work to move people to hotels quickly so they can keep their distance from one another. 
      • Gov. John Bel Edwards’s said over 2,200 evacuees were staying in 41 shelters, a number expected to rise as people were rescued or escaped from flooded homes.  
      • Lafourche Parish hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, reported a partial generator failure Sunday that forced some patients to be moved
      • On Monday, U.S. Coast Guard managed to fly in and evacuate about seven patients from Lady of the Sea General Hospital in Lafourche Parish, near where Ida made landfall, the storm ripped away a huge portion of the roof. 
        • Ochsner Health, which runs Louisiana's largest hospital network and had about 15 hospitals in Ida's path, evacuated 165 patients from three hospitals from Houma and Raceland in the hard-hit Bayou region. 
        • Other Ochsner Health facilities in New Orleans and elsewhere stayed fully open, even after water leaked inside after the storm blew off rooftop ventilation covers and broke a few windows. All were running on generators, and some used water from private wells. 
      • Several healthcare systems in the New Orleans area have kicked contingency plans into gear, including increasing staffing, supplies, and limiting the number of patients that can be admitted.   
      • Patient surges in less impacted areas, including Baton Rouge and some parts of New Orleans, are threatening to push those hospitals to capacity.    
        • Staffing assistance and/or alternate care sites are a need. 
      • Mississippi hospitals are being stretched thin by the new COVID-19 wave. Of the 895 staffed ICU beds reported across the state, about 92% of them are in use and more than 59% are occupied by COVID-19 patients.  
      • In Mississippi, vaccine and testing clinics have been closed across the state, with many planning to resume care Tuesday 8/31 
      • One hospital in Pike County, Mississippi lost power for several hours, but generators kept the storm from affecting patients. 
        • Intensive care units across Mississippi remain at or near capacity as hospitals manage staff shortages and high numbers of COVID-19 patients 
        • Several Mississippi hospitals reported having little to no disruption of care because of the severe weather. 
      • The impacts of Ida will only strain the hospital systems further. In southern Mississippi, health officials have been diverting critical care patients to northern hospitals. Federal health care teams — which were already responding to the COVID-19 surge in Louisiana and Mississippi — will assist in that effort. 
  • Dialysis Centers
    • Today, 8/31, there have been 53 total reported dialysis facility closures because of Hurricane Ida.   
      • Over 14 facilities are closed due to staffing shortages, and many are expected to reopen tomorrow, 9/1. 
      • There are plans to reopen larger clinics first, with increased shifts, and transport patients into those facilities until smaller facilities can be reopened. Four larger clinics in the downtown New Orleans area are open and currently accepting surge patients from surrounding facilities that remain closed.  
      • Teams are working with hospital partners to reroute patients that are presenting at hospitals to open, out-patient facilities in the area. 
      • Large dialysis organizations are working to ensure all patients are accounted for.  
      • Fuel tanker has been out topping on generators and water tankers are en route to assist with water related issues as needed. 
    • An emergency hotline has been set up for dialysis patients displaced by Hurricane Ida 
      • Any person who needs dialysis or has questions about where to receive care before, during, or after the storm is asked to call 1-800-626-1297. The line is available 24 hours a day and will be up for at least a week. 
    • Dialysis centers in New Orleans will be operational beginning August 31. This is subject to change based on water and sewer availability.  
      • Patients are advised to confirm if their dialysis center is still open before leaving for a scheduled appointment. 
  • Pharmacy Operations
    • Rx Open is activated for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The map was last updated at 2 pm ET, August 31. As of this update: 
      • 38.1% of participating pharmacies in Louisiana were reporting Closed or Unknown.   
      • 4.7% of participating pharmacies in Mississippi were reporting Closed or Unknown.   
      • 6.1%% of participating pharmacies in Alabama were reporting Closed or Unknown. 
    • Additional pharmacy closures are expected to be reflect in the next update of the map. The map will be updated the afternoon of Wednesday, September 1.  
  • COVID-19 Status
    • No significant changes since August 30 (8/30 sit-rep)
    • Louisiana   
      • Louisiana is currently 41.4% fully vaccinated.  
      • According to the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI), Louisiana’s overall vulnerability ranks at a 0.78, on a scale from 0 to 1, indicating communities to be more likely to be diagnosed with the virus, more likely to die, less likely to have been tested, and less likely to have been fully vaccinated.  
      • Governor Edwards reinforced the statewide indoor mask mandate by extending the Louisiana's public health emergency declaration through the month of September.  
      • According to the Louisiana Department of Health, more than 3,428 new cases were confirmed as of Monday August 30.  
        • Louisiana is reporting that nearly 479 COVID patients remained on ventilators and 92% percent of ICU beds were full. 
      • New Orleans is seeing a severe outbreak with a seven-day average of 220 new infections.   
      • This surge in COVID-19 cases, cascading with issues from Hurricane Ida, will surely impact the state’s healthcare system.   
    • Mississippi  
      • Mississippi is currently 37.7% fully vaccinated.   
      • According to the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI)Quitman County, MS, is in the top 10 list of counties most vulnerable to COVID-19. Additional Mississippi counties that are vulnerable to COVID-19 include: Humphreys, Tunica, Leake, Noxubee, Issaquena, Sunflower, Sharkey, Claiborne, Copiah, Wilkinson, Yazoo, Scott, Attala, Holmes, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, Neshoba, Montgomery, Calhoun, Benton, and Jefferson Counties.  
      • There is no mask mandate for the Mississippi state-wide, but counties with high rates of COVID-19 are required to wear masks in indoor settings.  
      • According to the Mississippi Department of Health, more than 7,971 new cases were confirmed as of Sunday, August 29. As of Monday, August 30, 1,111 new cases were reported. This case count is impacted by reduced staffing related to Hurricane Ida.  
        • Mississippi is reporting that nearly 317 COVID patients remained on ventilators and 89.5 percent of ICU beds were full. 
      • All Mississippi State Department of Health COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites in central and south Mississippi will remain closed Tuesday, August 31. The site in north Mississippi will operate as usual.  
    • Alabama  
      • Alabama is currently 38.1% fully vaccinated.   
      • According to the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI) Alabama’s overall vulnerability ranks at a 0.96, which is extremely high.   
      • Alabama encourages but does not require residents to wear masks when within 6 feet of someone from another household.  
      • According to the Alabama Department of Health, more than 3,072 new cases were confirmed as of Monday, August 30. 
        • The state currently has 2,815 people hospitalized with COVID. 
Emergency Prescription Refills
  • Louisiana  
  • Mississippi   
    • TRICARE authorized temporary prescription refill waivers for Mississippi and Louisiana through September 3 due to the storm. 
      • To get an emergency refill, individuals should take their prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy. To find a network pharmacy, either call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 or search the network pharmacy locator
  • Alabama 
    • Prescription refill waivers are authorized for Alabama through September 4. 
Oxygen Supply
  • Oxygen re-supply needs, particularly in regions with high COVID-19 rates whose resupply is dependent on transportation through the areas impacted by Ida, will continually be monitored throughout the week. 
  • The oxygen supply concern goes beyond just hospital supply – individual canisters and tanks used by discharged COVID-19 patients and those with disabilities were also in high demand. 
Boil Water Advisory Potential Oil/Resources Impacts 
  • There is a high likelihood that needs will soon surface due to the considerable number of facilities and utilities currently running on generator power. Updates will be shared as they become available over the coming days.  
  • The Colonial Pipeline resumed service late on August 30.   
  • Initial reports from fuel suppliers and distributors indicate that gas station shortages may be upcoming. We are tracking this with a specific lens to the impact on the health sector. 
  • Louisiana  
    • Port Fourchon, where Ida made landfall, serves as the land base for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port. They were forced to shut down production, which accounts for 90% of the Gulf’s deep water oil production.  
    • Exxon is reducing refinery production in Baton Rouge, however, no major damage has been reported so far.  
    • The Alliance Refinery flooded and damages are uncertain at this time. 
  • Texas  
    • There are reports from a fuel supplier and distributor that fuel trucks can reach Lafayette and Covington, Louisiana, from Texas.   
Other Actions
If you become aware of situation(s) that may adversely affect healthcare supply or care in the affected area, or if you would like to request the assistance of Healthcare Ready, please contact us at Alerts@HealthcareReady.org or call 1.866.247.2694.

We are standing by, ready to assist those in the impacted areas. For those of you in the affected areas, our thoughts are with you.

Thank you,
Healthcare Ready Support Team
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