LDH issues updated guidance for omicron variant ahead of Christmas holiday

Posted at 9:56 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 23:33:08-05

The CDC reports the omicron variant of COVID-19 accounts for the majority of new COVID infections here in the United States.

About 73% of those new cases are being blamed on the variant.

With an increase in COVID across the country, including here in Louisiana, health experts want you to take precautions.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, hospitals across the state, including Our Lady of Lourdes, are seeing an increase of both COVID and flu cases.

It's a trend health officials hope can be stopped with a few precautions.

At Bon Ami Pharmacy in Breaux Bridge, they are seeing a steady uptick in COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

"Definitely seeing a lot more people getting the boosters, especially with Omicron, and definitely getting tested,” said Bon Ami Pharmacy owner Ryan LeBlanc.

Across the state COVID-19 cases are going up.

LDH reports a 60% increase from last week, with statewide percent positivity increasing from 2.2% last week to 3.3% this week.

Health officials urge those who plan to gather for the holidays to get vaccinated, wear a mask, and get tested multiple times.

"We want folks to be tested before traveling before gathering and again when you return. Remember that COVID tests really are just a snapshot in time. Just because you test negative before the flight doesn't mean you're still going to be negative two days later when you go to gather at your family member's house,” said State Epidemiologist Theresa Sokol.

With more people getting tested ahead of Christmas, pharmacist Ryan Leblanc is busy keeping supplies in stock.

"We've definitely been proactive ourselves just making sure that we had enough in stock, we have backups and multiple resources that we find to be able to keep everything in stock,” Leblanc added.

Anyone who wants to get tested should visit a local pharmacy or community-based testing sites before traveling.

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