Ochsner: Take Precautions to Fight Spread of Omicron Variant
NEW ORLEANS — On Dec. 21, Dr. Katherine Baumgarten and Dawn Pevey of Ochsner Health briefed the media on the latest information and guidance related to the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus that’s causing an increase in cases worldwide.
Here are highlights of the advice they offered:
“Stay home if you are not feeling well. While no one wants to miss out on treasured holiday time with their families, people who are not feeling well should stay home. We encourage people to take an at-home rapid test which you can find at major retailers. Whether or not you test positive for COVID, it is safer for everyone if you stay home when not feeling well.”
“Get vaccinated or get boosted. Vaccines prevent severe disease, hospitalizations and death and are now available for kids ages 5 and up. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please do. If you haven’t received your booster, get your booster shot today. Booster shots offer a significantly increased level of protection. Getting vaccinated is the best gift you can give yourself, your family, friends and community this holiday season.”
“Mask up and celebrate outside. Take precautions, mask up indoors and avoid large group gatherings indoors. You don’t need a mandate to wear a mask. This weekend will be a warm southern Christmas, so take your celebration outdoors.”
Ochsner Testing Locations: www.ochsner.org/testing
- PCR test results from our sites can take up to 72 hours.
- At-home tests are fast, reliable and can be found at major retailers.
- If community members test positive, they should quarantine immediately and monitor symptoms. If symptoms worsen and patients need guidance on where and how to seek care, they can call Ochsner On Call at 1-800-231-5257.
Vaccines & Boosters:
Ochsner Vaccine Locations: www.ochsner.org/vaccineinfo
- Omicron demonstrates how variants can mutate rapidly where vaccination rates are low, underscoring the importance of vaccines.
- Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
- If you are already vaccinated, we urge you to get your booster shot now if you are eligible. Pfizer boosters are available to those 16 years of age and older at least 6 months after your initial 2-dose series. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are available to all adults 18 years and older at least 6 months after your initial 2-dose series (Moderna), or 2 months after a Johnson and Johnson vaccination. Boosters have demonstrated the ability to significantly increase protection against infection and severe outcomes.
- Lab tests are showing Pfizer’s booster shot increased people’s levels of virus-fighting antibodies by 25-fold. Moderna’s current booster is found to increase neutralizing antibody levels against omicron 37-fold compared to pre-boost levels.