Ochsner Health System offers guidance on omicron variant ahead of Christmas holiday

Posted at 8:31 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 23:13:40-05

The Centers for Disease Control Prevention reports the omicron variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain in the United States.

They say 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.

At Ochsner Lafayette General, 10 new COVID patients were admitted on Tuesday. This increase in numbers is not severe as the summer surge with the delta variant, but health officials are keeping a close eye on omicron.

"Omicron is circulating right now in our community. We do think that most of the cases that we're seeing circulate are going to be Omicron,” said Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention Dr. Katherine Baumgarten.

In Louisiana, positive cases linked to omicron have increased from 2% to 32% since last week.

Health officials say right now, staffing is the biggest challenge in hospitals.

"Everyone is pretty close to full and working to create proactively create capacity is true really across our entire health system,” said Centers of Excellence and Service Lines Executive Director Dawn Pevey.

Across the Ochsner system, 78 people were hospitalized Tuesday compared to 51 last week.

1 of the 5 pediatric patients in the state is in Lafayette.

"I hope there will be an increase in the number of people getting vaccinated and we have seen we have more people attending our vaccine clinics across our system. So that's a good sign. We would like to see a ton more. Of course, we want to encourage everybody to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible,” Dr. Baumgarten added.

Health officials recommend if you feel sick, stay home and get tested. Also, get vaccinated and if you are eligible to do so, get a booster shot.

If you can, consider gathering outside for Christmas because of warmer weather.

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