BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana Department of Health delved into the Omicron variant on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Our Lady of the Lake is announcing some changes to their policies.

Chief Medical Officer, Catherine O’Neal, MD released this statement which includes the restoration of ‘several mitigation measures.’

“Because COVID-19 and the Omicron variant is now surging across the country with increased community transmission and hospitalizations, now is the time to begin taking action to protect our healthcare workforce and prepare as a community for what we anticipate to come.

To protect our workforce and ensure the continuity of care for our community, Our Lady of the Lake is reinstituting several mitigation measures effective immediately:

  • Masks will be required for all patients, team members and guests inside ALL of our locations, clinical and non-clinical
  • Preop COVID-19 testing will resume for patients undergoing surgical procedures
  • In-person meetings are limited to 30 people or less and social distancing is required
  • Meetings are encouraged to be held virtually, when possible
  • Team members who can work virtually will assume that format, as possible

There is now significant community transmission according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC. Hospitals in the Midwest and Northeast have seen a rapid rise leading to the cancellation of non-emergent procedures and an inevitable strain on capacities. These issues are caused, in part, by the existing healthcare workforce shortage and exacerbated by employees being diagnosed with COVID-19. We are proactively taking these essential steps to mitigate risks in anticipation of another devastating surge. We make these changes based on data as well as our knowledge and experiences from battling this pandemic for almost two years.

We urge everyone to take their own prevention steps. The most effective way to reduce your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 remains vaccination. We also implore those who are vaccinated to get their booster. We’re learning more every day about this new variant and the data is already showing a reduced risk of infection once the 3-step vaccine series is complete.”

Louisiana is quickly approaching 15,000 COVID-19 related deaths.