Ochsner Health reports dropping numbers of COVID patients and discusses employee vaccinations


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – During their last briefing, just hours before Hurricane Ida made landfall, Ochsner Health officials released their hurricane prep plan and mentioned COVID-19 statistics over the previous several weeks.

In comparison, today, several facilities damaged from Hurricane Ida are now up and running. Canceled surgeries and procedures due to COVID and hurricane Ida are slowly being re-booked and employees are getting the support they need.

“We made great progress on all of those fronts in the past week,” said Ocshner President and CEO Warner Thomas.

A month ago, the hospital system reported 1,009 positive COVID-19 patients. This week, they are down more than half that number.

“We were so happy that we were down several hundred over the previous week and we are down another hundred this week down to 386,” said Thomas.

Employee well-being increased. Workers in quarantine went from 500 just a month ago down to 110. Those impacted by Hurricane Ida are also receiving nutritional, monetary, and family support. Thomas says almost $1.6 million in employee assistance has been issued.

“As well as other things like food and water,” said Thomas. “Giving personal items and toiletries and things like that to our employees.”

Officials say workers are now required to get vaccinated. Workers who refuse will get suspended for 30 days.

“During that time, they can request an exemption for religious or medical reasons,” said Thomas. “If they don’t get vaccinated, they will be asked to leave Ochnser.”

Employees have until Oct/ 29 to get fully vaccinated. So far 81% of Ochsner’s 32,000 employees are fully vaccinated. A few hundred are hired every week. Officials say they don’t want to lose employees, but they will not be negatively impacted if they do.

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