COVID-19 Resources

Latest updates from Ochsner LSU Health on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Latest Updates on COVID-19

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has quickly spread across the United States. Louisiana and the Gulf South are in a fifth surge, but we have many resources to keep you and your family safe and informed.

The emergence of the Omicron variant has made booster shots more important than ever. A booster shot continues providing longer-term protection and reduces the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. Preliminary studies have found that Omicron reduces the efficacy of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but a booster shot offers a significantly increased level of protection.

GET THE FACTS: OMICRON VARIANT

SCHEDULE YOUR VACCINE OR BOOSTER APPOINTMENT THROUGH MYOCHSNER

Additionally, Ochsner LSU Health is administering a small inventory of a new injection used to prevent illness from COVID-19 in some of our most immunocompromised patients in accordance with guidelines from the FDA. Evusheld is a long-acting monoclonal antibody that received an EUA from the FDA for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric individuals.

Exposed or Symptomatic?

Testing and Treatment Options

Effective immediately, Ochsner LSU Health urgent care clinics and emergency departments will no longer be providing COVID-19 tests for people experiencing no symptoms (asymptomatic), and rapid testing will be very limited at all Ochsner LSU Health locations, including urgent care clinics and emergency departments.

Please use at-home tests or community testing to seek COVID-19 tests, for travel, exposure, or employer-required return to work testing, and the COVID-19 Self-Care and Symptom Monitoring Program if possible. A positive at-home test does not need to be confirmed in Ochsner facilities and a visit to the emergency department will result in an emergency department bill, which is far more expensive than an at-home COVID-19 test.

Our emergency departments and clinics have seen record-breaking volumes of patients with mild or no symptoms seeking rapid COVID-19 tests. To ensure that our community members who need it can receive critical or life-saving care, patients will have medical screening exams to seek status of emergency medical conditions. Rapid testing will be limited to patients with medical conditions who are determined to need immediate COVID-19 status awareness after a medical screening exam is performed. Patients will get results via MyOchsner/MyChart or by phone, if a patient does not have a MyOchsner account. Results for PCR tests may take up to 72 hours.

The Omicron variant is highly contagious but appears to cause milder symptoms than previous variants, especially in fully vaccinated and boosted people. Holiday travel and gatherings have increased testing demand. If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed, below are testing and treatment resources, including at-home options that allow for safe monitoring with the ability to triage for urgent needs.

At-Home Testing

At-home rapid tests are effective at detecting the Omicron variant and are a convenient way to learn your COVID-19 status. If seeking a test, we strongly recommend at-home testing. Ochsner recognizes that at-home tests may be in shorter supply, so we recommend isolating without a positive test if you are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms or utilizing community testing sites.

Community Testing

  • Louisiana Department of Health testing locations are listed here: ldh.la.gov.
  • Free community testing locations have been placed in regions throughout Louisiana.
  • To find a free community COVID-19 testing location near you, click here: www.ochsner.org/testing. We are working on extending testing hours in coming days and will be updating this website regularly.

Ochsner COVID-19 Self Care and Symptom Monitoring Program

  • If you or a loved one has recently tested positive for COVID-19, you can also easily enroll in Ochsner’s free COVID-19 Self Care and Symptom Monitoring Program. By completing a quick form in MyOchsner, you will be automatically registered into our program. If symptoms worsen, our care team will be there to guide on next steps and treatment options.
  • Click on this tip sheet to learn more.

Emergency Rooms and Urgent Cares

Urgent Care

Please do not visit urgent care unless you need immediate attention. Our urgent care clinics are seeing record volume with long wait times. People use urgent care centers for high fevers, accidents, falls, injuries like cuts, minor breaks, sprains and strains, and other illnesses. As a community we need to ensure people who need Ochsner’s care can receive it. Please use at-home tests or community testing sites to seek COVID-19 tests, for travel and exposure testing, and the COVID-19 Self Care and Symptom Monitoring Program if possible. A positive at-home test does not need to be confirmed in an Ochsner LSU Health urgent care.

Urgent Care Virtual Visits through Ochsner Anywhere Care

Virtual visits remain available for common illnesses and urgent care needs. If you'd like to see a provider without leaving home, visit ochsner.org/anywhere to start an Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visit.

Emergency Rooms

Please do not visit emergency departments unless you have medical needs that warrant emergency care. Our emergency departments are seeing record volume with extraordinarily long waits. Please do not visit emergency departments if you are asymptomatic or mildly sick or are only seeking a COVID-19 test. The emergency department is a place for true emergencies, such as difficulty breathing, severe bleeding, severe accidents, heart attacks, strokes, gunshots and other major wounds. Using the emergency department for care other than emergencies takes precious resources away from patients in need of lifesaving care. As a community, we need to ensure the people who need Ochsner LSU Health's care can receive it. Please use at-home tests or community testing sites to seek COVID-19 tests, and the COVID-19 Self Care and Symptom Monitoring Program if possible. A positive at-home test does not need to be confirmed in an Ochsner LSU Health emergency room, and a visit to the emergency department will result in an emergency department bill, which is far more expensive than an at-home COVID-19 test.

If you do not need emergency medical care, please visit ochsner.org/testing for testing locations, where you will be billed only for testing, not an emergency room visit.

Updated Visitor Policy

In order to protect the health of our communities, and as a safety precaution to prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19, we have instituted visitor restrictions in accordance with recommendations from the CDC

View Our Visitor Policy

How you can protect yourself and your family:

Preliminary studies have found that the Omicron variant reduces the efficacy of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines, but a booster shot offers a significantly increased level of protection. The studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against the Omicron variant than they have been against the Delta strain and other variants.

GET THE FACTS: OMICRON VARIANT

Vaccines are still the best defense when it comes to slowing the spread and preventing severe symptoms or illness leading to hospitalization or death.

To make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, schedule in your MyChart account by visiting my.ochsner.org/lsu or call 318-626-0050 for Shreveport locations or 318-330-7599 for Monroe locations, or, find a community vaccine event here: ochsner.org/vaccineinfo.

The Centers for Disease Control says all fully vaccinated individuals ages 12 and over should receive the booster shot if it's been at least five months since you completed the Pfizer vaccine series, five months since you completed the Moderna vaccine series or at least two months since you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. At this time, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-17.

Ochsner LSU Health is here to keep you and your family healthy.