Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
vaccines are available now to anyone 6 months or older. Getting vaccinated
against COVID-19 is the best defense when it comes to slowing the spread of and
preventing severe symptoms or illness leading to hospitalization or death.
A second booster of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are available for people ages 50 and up. A second Pfizer booster is available for immunocompromised children 12 and up and a second Moderna booster is available for immunocompromised adults 18 and up. A single booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 at least five months after completion of their primary vaccine series has been approved by the FDA and CDC.
Effective immediately, Ochsner 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 locations, including urgent care clinics, emergency departments and community testing sites.
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.
At-home rapid tests are effective 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.
Patients who are immunocompromised and who have a referral from their physician are eligible to receive Evusheld, a protective measure to prevent COVID-19 in vulnerable populations. Patients are eligible to receive Evusheld for COVID-19 exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) if they meet the following criteria:
It is very strongly recommended that patients complete the primary series of currently available COVID-19 vaccines (three doses of mRNA vaccine or equivalent). Evusheld is not intended to be a replacement for vaccination but should be used in addition to vaccination for protection against COVID-19.
Please note: Patients who have previously received a lower dose of Evusheld will be contacted to receive their “catch up” dose. Appointment scheduling to receive Evusheld is dependent upon eligibility. A referral is not a guarantee you will receive a dose of Evusheld.
Referral forms are for physician use only. Patients are not required to fill out these forms.
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 urgent 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 Connected Anywhere virtual visit.
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’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 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.
Please remember that staffing is still a significant challenge for Ochsner and healthcare systems around the country. We thank you for your patience.
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.
Vaccines are still the best defense when it comes to slowing the spread and preventing severe symptoms or illness leading to hospitalization or death.
The Centers for Disease Control says all fully vaccinated individuals ages 5 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, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children ages 6 months to 17 years. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and available for children ages 6 months to 5 years.
As part of our enduring commitment to the health and safety of our patients and care teams, Ochsner Health requires COVID-19 vaccinations of all of our employees, physicians, and anyone involved in patient care.
The safety and effectiveness of the vaccines is proven. We join physicians, researchers and global healthcare leaders who consistently agree that the safe, effective vaccines available to us prevent death, hospitalization and severe disease.
The COVID-19 vaccines can have mild side effects, but the vast majority are very short term and are not serious or dangerous. While some people experience one to two days of discomfort where they were injected, body aches, headaches or fever, these are signs that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. The vaccines are not resulting in any serious illnesses or deaths.
Nearly all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. are unvaccinated. Louisiana and Mississippi rank among the lowest in the nation in vaccination rates, leading to the high infection and hospitalization rates in our states. Getting vaccinated protects you from contracting the virus, but most importantly, it protects you from the more severe symptoms experienced by unvaccinated individuals that lead to hospitalization and death.
Unlike previous strains of the virus, the Delta variant is having a greater impact on infection rates and hospitalizations among children and younger people. A recent study showed that children and adults under age 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta compared to those older than 50 years. Our hospitals are caring for more children with COVID-19 now than at any other point in the pandemic.
Get vaccinated! The vast majority of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Ochsner are unvaccinated. In order to protect ourselves and our loved ones from Delta and other variants that could emerge in the future, a significant portion of the population must be vaccinated. Find vaccine locations here.
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.
Symptoms can be very similar to the flu or cold. If you develop these symptoms or have been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19:
Call the Ochsner COVID-19 Info Line:
For general information, dial the Louisiana hotline, 211, or text the keyword LACOVID to 898211.