NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Ochsner Health System has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases in the past couple of weeks.  

According to Ochsner health officials, their New Orleans-area health system hit its peak in Omicron cases on January 11 with 726 cases.

Hospital officials say they are, however, monitoring their numbers on the North Shore because cases have reached a plateau in the past couple of weeks.

Although Omicron’s peak was not as high as Delta’s peak in August, the Omicron strain still made an impact.

“I will tell you that the escalation of the cases and the fact that it happened over the [Christmas] holiday and the infection rate was so much higher, we had a lot more employees that were out at our peak,” said Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas.

Speaking about the booster’s effectiveness, Ochsner doctors say only about 5% of patients at their hospitals received their boosters whereas about 65% of Ochsner patients aren’t vaccinated.

“Amongst the people that are boosted and admitted to the hospital, generally, they are older, they have other underlying health conditions that put them at risk for more severe disease,” explained Dr. Sandra Kemmerly, Ochsner Health System Medical Director of Hospital Quality. “We’re not seeing boosted individuals who are young and healthy in our hospitals and in our ICUs.”

As Mardi Gras approaches, Ochsner leaders say it’s very important that kids get vaccinated because the majority of the hospital’s pediatric patients are under the age of five and cannot receive the shot.

“We really encourage vaccination and boosters for the children that are eligible as part of the whole preparation for Mardi Gras and to keep our kids safe that can be vaccinated,” said Dr. Kemmerly.

Officials are reminding people that COVID-19 and the factors it may affect remain fluid.

“What we do know is that the best way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated and to be boosted,” said Warner.

Ochsner Health has just announced several vaccine events for the Greater New Orleans area. Click here for the information.