Our Lady of the Lake chief addresses Omicron variant surge

Staff Report
A healthcare worker gets information from peopled lined up to be tested at a COVID-19 testing site in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on Dec. 20.

Our Lady of the Lake Chief Medical Officer Catherine O'Neal released a statement on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spike in cases.

"Because COVID-19 and the Omicron variant is now surging across the country with increased community transmission and hospitalizations, now is the time to begin taking action to protect our healthcare workforce and prepare as a community for what we anticipate to come," O'Neal stated.

To protect the workforce and ensure the continuity of care for the community, Our Lady of the Lake is reinstituting several mitigation measures effective immediately:

  • Masks will be required for all patients, team members and guests inside all of the locations, clinical and non-clinical
  • Preop COVID-19 testing will resume for patients undergoing surgical procedures
  • In-person meetings are limited to 30 people or less and social distancing is required 
  • Meetings are encouraged to be held virtually, when possible
  • Team members who can work virtually will assume that format, as possible

"There is now significant community transmission according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC. Hospitals in the Midwest and Northeast have seen a rapid rise leading to the cancellation of non-emergent procedures and an inevitable strain on capacities.

These issues are caused, in part, by the existing healthcare workforce shortage and exacerbated by employees being diagnosed with COVID-19. We are proactively taking these essential steps to mitigate risks in anticipation of another devastating surge. We make these changes based on data as well as our knowledge and experiences from battling this pandemic for almost two years. 

We urge everyone to take their own prevention steps. The most effective way to reduce your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 remains vaccination. We also implore those who are vaccinated to get their booster. We’re learning more every day about this new variant and the data is already showing a reduced risk of infection once the 3-step vaccine series is complete."

OLOL Cancer Institute moves into renovated facilities

Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Institute moved into its newly renovated facilities this weekend and began seeing patients Dec. 20.

The 19,500 sq. feet of renovated space will serve patients for imaging, non-oncology infusion, palliative care, oncology infusion and Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group (OLOLPG) Medical Oncology. This care was previously received in the Mary Bird Perkins building but administered by Our Lady of the Lake.

“We have worked nonstop since August to relocate our oncology services and to prepare this space for our patients,” stated Scott Wester, President and CEO of Our Lady of the Lake. “We are prepared to provide all of the comprehensive services our patients need, and we will continue to serve our community and the Gulf South region with the same care and intention we have for the last 100 years.”