‘The pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ Ochsner prepares for fourth COVID-19 surge

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting the third-highest COVID-19 cases in a single day total, since the start of the pandemic.

Ochsner reports 313 COVID patients hospitalized as of Wednesday, of which 97 percent are unvaccinated.

The hospital is calling the fourth surge of the pandemic the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“97 percent of the people we have currently hospitalized could have been at home right now if they got vaccinated,” Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health said.

Ochsner’s pediatric COVID cases are up but low in hospitalizations. It’s a 16 percent increase in pediatric cases compared to a 1 percent increase one month ago.

“Those children who can’t get vaccines need to be protected by adults around them,” Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control of Ochsner said.

As for breakthrough cases, 63 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized this year. Ochsner provided context explaining that these 63 patients represent less than 3% of COVID-19 hospitalizations since Feb. 1, 2021.

Hesitation for vaccines has also been seen in healthcare workers. As of Wednesday, 61 percent of Ochsner’s employees are fully vaccinated. Thomas plans to mandate the vaccine once the FDA gives formal approval to the shots.

“You got to measure the fear of the vaccine versus the fear of the ongoing medical conditions that you could have post covid,” Thomas said.

The hospital is hiring additional staff and changing its visitation policy to prepare for the current surge.

Information on vaccines in the state is available here.

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