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COVID-19: CHRISTUS Ochsner Health System Information and Updates

February 9, 2021

Ochsner CHRISTUS COVID Vaccine Clinic to Open February 11

Lake Charles, Louisiana - The new Ochsner CHRISTUS COVID vaccine clinic will open on Thursday, February 11. Anyone meeting current Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) criteria can make an appointment.

As per LDH guidelines, the vaccine rollout has expanded to people age 65+, law enforcement and other first responders, and State and local essential COVID-19 emergency response personnel. A full list of eligibility criteria can be found online at Additionally, those who are eligible for a vaccine appointment can find a full list of providers at

The Ochsner CHRISTUS COVID vaccine clinic is located at Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center - Lake Area (4150 Nelson Road) inside Building C, Suite 11. To help facilitate the vaccine process, CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital has installed an ultra-cold freezer capable of keeping the Pfizer vaccine at the required -80 degrees.

Scheduling for new first dose appointments is now open in limited quantities, on a first come, first served basis. MyOchsner users can quickly check availability and schedule their vaccinations online via MyOchsner or using the MyOchsner (MyChart) app. You don’t need to be an existing Ochsner patient to have a MyOchsner account and sign-up is available at

With call volumes higher than normal, patients are encouraged to use MyOchsner. When answering ‘Which locations work for you?’ in the scheduling window, patients should select " COVID LNRC HEMONC " as the location. Anyone in the Lake Charles area meeting the current vaccine criteria can also call 1-855-668-3625 for an appointment.

“I took the vaccine when it was my turn,” stated Ochsner CHRISTUS primary care physician Van Snider, M.D. “If you are eligible, then don’t wait. Please make an appointment.

“The vaccine technology uses Messenger RNA which has been studied since 1990. This is safe. Ochsner Health has successfully vaccinated thousands of health care workers and patients throughout Louisiana since December.”

Vaccines are given by appointment only. Due to the quick expiration of a thawed vaccine, an exact number of patients will be booked each day. This will maximize the number of doses available, eliminating any chance of wasted vaccine.

Patients are required to get their second dose 21 days after their first dose. As per LDH guidance, second dose appointments will be confirmed at the time of the first does and everyone must return to the same location to receive their second dose.

The Ochsner CHRISTUS COVID vaccine clinic will open by appointment from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., on February 11th and 12th. The clinic schedule for the following weeks will be based on available vaccine supply. As vaccine supply changes from week to week, we encourage all community members to continue checking for the latest information.

For information about healthcare services at an Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center, or to schedule an appointment, call 337-656-7876.

December 22, 2020

New Antibody Treatment For COVID-19 Patients Offered At CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital

Lake Charles, Louisiana - CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana announced patients now have access to a monoclonal antibody therapy for treatment of mild-tomoderate SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The therapy- Bamlanivimab is administered through infusion in COVID-19 positive patients who are at greater risk for hospitalization.

“This treatment can be life-saving to those who are most vulnerable to severe illness. It is important for patients to know how valuable this treatment is in fighting off the virus,” said Timothy Haman, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana.

Recently authorized by the FDA for emergency use to treat mild-to-moderate cases of COVID19 infection; monoclonal antibodies are proteins created in a lab that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus.

Early results in clinical trials indicate the therapy is beneficial when given early, before a patient’s immune system has mounted an antibody response.

“This means it is important for people to be evaluated by their physician or at an Urgent Care clinic at the first sign of symptoms,” said Dr. Haman.

This treatment is reserved for patients who are at increased risk for severe illness. Patients with underlying medical conditions including: BMI greater than 35, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, immunosuppressive disease, those receiving immunosuppressive treatment/therapy, age over 65, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and chronic lung/respiratory disease.

The therapy requires an intravenous infusion and monitoring after the procedure. The process takes a few hours and is offered for scheduling on Tuesdays and Fridays. Patients are encouraged to speak with their primary care physicians to see if they are a candidate for this new treatment.

COVID-19 immunization administrationCHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana Administers COVID-19 Vaccine To Health Care Workers

December 14, 2020 – CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana stands ready to manage and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine internally to health care workers in coming days and weeks; as the first doses were administered to frontline health care workers on Monday afternoon.

“Our COVID-19 Taskforce is evaluating and planning for the storage and distribution of a vaccine across our ministries while following the guidance of clinical experts and the frameworks distributed by the Catholic Health Association, Centers for Disease Control, and State Health agencies,” said David Benner PharmD, MS, MHA, FACHE, Vice President, Clinical Ancillary Services for the Division of Clinical Excellence at CHRISTUS Health.

CHRISTUS Health has a well-established process in place for reviewing the safety and efficacy of new drugs that is being utilized to evaluate any COVID-19 vaccines that receive emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA.

“This is hopefully the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Vaccines have been a key part of combatting and even eradicating certain diseases for generations, and we are confident the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective,” said Timothy Haman, Vice President of Medical Affairs, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana.

The vaccine is offered to health workers; focusing on those at greater risk of exposure first. Receiving the vaccine is not mandatory. Similar to many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine will be given in two doses: an initial injection and then a booster shot, normally 21-28 days later (depending on the vaccine administered). Research from the pharmaceutical company and CHRISTUS Health’s COVID-19 Task Force indicates minor side effects similar to the flu shot, such as low-grade fever and redness or slight pain at the injection site are possible.

“We feel this is going to be an important step to protecting our Associates, so that in turn we can protect our patients,” said Dr. Haman.

Updated FREE Community COVID-19 Testing Schedule

Aug. 21, 2020 – Ochsner Health’s community testing has resulted in over 60,000 free COVID-19 swabs performed at sites across Louisiana. Ochsner Health and CHRISTUS Health Southwestern Louisiana are pleased to announce additional free community testing throughout the month of August in the Lake Charles area.

Testing is open to Louisiana residents, age two and older. Doctor’s orders are not required. People coming for testing are required to bring a picture ID and insurance card, if applicable. There are no out-of-pocket costs for those seeking a test and no one will be turned away based on their insurance status. Testing is available at the times listed or until all 100 test kits have been utilized for the day. For questions about community testing, visit

The goal is to provide test results via the MyChart patient portal. Those who test positive can participate in Ochsner’s 14-day symptom tracker program designed for COVID-19 patients who do not require hospital care. Participants receive daily text messages to monitor symptoms and can be connected to a 24/7 nurse on-call line for additional support. In addition to offering community testing, Ochsner has the following resources available:

  • Free Ochsner information line at 844-888-2772 for 24/7 advice and COVID-19 information
  • Schedule a primary care video visit with an Ochsner provider and ask follow-up questions through secure messages using MyChart
  • Urgent Care by video at or via the Ochsner Anywhere Care app
  • In-person appointments at several Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Centers in the Lake Charles area

To learn more about COVID-19, visit

Testing schedules and/or locations are subject to change.

Friday, August 21 No testing
Saturday, August 22 No testing
Friday, August 28
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
CHRISTUS Senior Activity Center
4200 Nelson Rd., Building 1891
Lake Charles, LA 70605
Sunday, August 30
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
CHRISTUS Senior Activity Center
4200 Nelson Rd., Building 1891
Lake Charles, LA 70605

For more information about primary care services at an Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center, or to schedule an appointment, call 337-656-7876.

CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana to Resume Some Surgeries April 27

CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana is preparing to begin phasing in a number of procedures and surgeries on April 27, consistent with the provisions of the Governor John Bel-Edwards original order on April 20.

The revised guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health initially covers medical procedures and surgeries performed in order to treat an emergency medical condition, to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease, and for time sensitive conditions.

State officials have outlined the process will begin with allowing for procedures that have already been postponed for 30 days to be reassessed. If the physician feels further delay would cause an adverse effect to the patient and is able to document that, then the procedure would be allowed to proceed. As these procedures resume, state officials will monitor the situation closely, including for an increase in ICU patients and/or ventilator utilization.

Our facilities have secured the personal protective equipment (PPE) and excess capacity necessary to safely care for the full spectrum of medical conditions and patient needs that we have worked so hard to address in our communities for more than 100 years.

We are working with physicians now to reschedule their patients for a number of medical and surgical procedures they were forced to postpone due to the initial order. While we all understand the reason that these procedures had to be postponed, waiting has imposed a hardship on many of these patients, as many can no longer delay care for heart disease, cancer, pain, vision problems and other conditions. We are working to avoid a surge in illness and suffering as a result of deferred and delayed care.

“The procedures that have been delayed or deferred are often issues related to quality of life,” said Kevin Holland, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana. “In some cases, these procedures will even help patients live longer. That’s why we have to get them back to our operating rooms when medically necessary as quickly as possible. But just as we’ve always done with our surgeries and other procedures, we must also ensure our patients, Associates and physicians are safe. That’s what we’ve done at CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana for so many years,” Holland said.

CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana practices infection prevention every day. In addition, the CHRISTUS Health system is leading the Southwestern Louisiana community, and the country, by recently announcing the rolling out of antibody testing for some patients, Associates and physicians in its ministries. This new screening tool allows the hospital to test these groups for antibodies related to the COVID-19 virus, helping it to identify how each patient should receive care and how to keep its caregivers safe.

Not only that, but CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana has been steadily working and planning to continue providing necessary, non-COVID care to keep people safe and healthy. To keep all who enter our facilities safe, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana continues to have these following precautions in place:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
  • Temperature checks for all Associates;
  • Requiring everyone on our campuses to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.

This may be an unprecedented time, but we have experienced many of these since CHRISTUS was founded 154 years ago. In fact, the first three Sisters who started the CHRISTUS ministry in Galveston faced an epidemic of Yellow Fever within the first six months of opening the very first hospital. Epidemics and tragedies have been part of CHRISTUS’ history, and so too has the resolve, after each of those challenges, to move on in love and service to those in need.

“CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana is answering the call to help our community – today and tomorrow. In all that we do, we are devoted to keeping patients, their families, our caregivers and our Associates safe. And we are here when you need care. We are ready, and it is a privilege to serve this community,” Holland said.

April 14, 2020

CHRISTUS Health Offers ‘Game Changer’ Antibodies Test for COVID-19

CHRISTUS Health System is first in the communities it serves to offer new screening tool

CHRISTUS Health announced today it is now offering a new screening tool to some patients, as well as doctors, nurses and other CHRISTUS Associates on the frontlines to learn who has been infected with COVID-19—AND—who might now carry protective antibodies.

“CHRISTUS Health is a safe place to receive care, with high-reliability processes and procedures for infection prevention and mitigating the spread of illness,” explained Dr. Sam Bagchi, CHRISTUS Health’s EVP and Chief Clinical Officer. “Beginning today, we are adding the unprecedented additional layer of antibody screening to help survey for asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among patients and caregivers.”

For the last several weeks, the team has quickly assessed the test’s reliability and then deployed the kits to CHRISTUS hospitals and ambulatory sites across the United States and Latin America. The test produces results in approximately 10 minutes and has been validated internally for screening for COVID-19 infections.

“CHRISTUS is the first in our communities, and is leading the nation by using advanced COVID-19 antibody testing to screen people in our facilities to determine if they have had a COVID-19 infection in the past or have one now,” said Dave Benner, PharmD, MS, MHA, FACHE Vice President, Clinical Ancillary Services.

The country’s leading scientists believe antibody-based tests to be essential in the war against COVID-19.

“This would be a game-changer in restarting parts of the economy more quickly and safely,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a professor in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in an April 1 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CHRISTUS will first begin using the test on Associates and caregivers on the frontlines. The rapid screening tool will also be used on hospitalized patients that the clinical team believes may have been infected with COVID-19 as well as patients who are scheduled for an urgent surgery.

“People should not put off urgent and emergent procedures, and should continue to seek the care they need. We know that, regardless of COVID-19, heart attacks and strokes have not stopped. We need to be able to treat people who urgently need to be in an operating room,” said Dr. Bagchi. “With the availability of an antibody test, we can test anyone who comes in for an urgent surgery. This will allow us to reliably know if a patient has COVID-19 before they start having symptoms or might normally be tested.”

This innovative screening solution is in an addition to the ongoing PCR tests many providers, including CHRISTUS, are able to perform. PCR is a laboratory technique known as polymerase chain reaction, and is the current FDA-approved test for diagnosing patients with COVID-19.

This is part of the work that CHRISTUS continues to do every day to keep its facilities safe from the spread of infection. To keep all who enter hospitals and clinics safe we have added the following precautions:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
  • Random temperature checks for Associates;
  • Requiring all Associates and visitors to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.
  • Virtual medicine is now available in every one of the CHRISTUS ministries at

Universal Masking

The health and safety of our patients, visitors, Associates and our communities remain of utmost importance. Beginning Monday, April 6, patients and visitors will be required to bring their own mask to wear while in our hospitals or outpatient clinics. You can learn more about how to make your own cloth masks by visiting the CDC website. Our health professionals providing care for presumed COVID-19 or known COVID-19 patients are expected to wear N95 respirator masks. Hospitalized patients do not have to wear a mask while in their rooms.

March 14, 2020 - 4:00 p.m.

CHRISTUS Health Statement Regarding COVID-19

We continue to work in solidarity with our partners in the health care community, city and county leaders, and local health authorities to ensure our community is well prepared. Together, we stand united in our commitment to keep the people we serve safe.

At CHRISTUS, we remain vigilant in responding to this evolving situation, meeting throughout the day to ensure we are prepared to respond to present and potential future needs of our community. We continue to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for healthcare facilities located in areas, like ours, that are not experiencing community spread. We do have emergency preparedness plans in place and are fully prepared to execute as appropriate for our community circumstances.

CHRISTUS facilities remain a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all of our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients. Every single day.

March 3, 2020

CHRISTUS Health Statement Regarding COVID-19

CHRISTUS values the importance of collaboration and coordinated action for the identification and care of those patients exhibiting signs of the COVID-19. Which is why we continue to follow CDC interim guidelines and work non-stop, in partnership with local, state and federal government authorities. We are fortunate to be part of a local health care community committed to responding to the needs of these patients in the safest manner necessary.

In the event that possible coronavirus patients need hospitalization after screening, we have identified a portion of our facility as the best place to allow us to isolate and safely care for any potential patients without risk of transmission to other parts of the facility.

At CHRISTUS, we have always screened patient to our clinical points of access for international travel, to assess for various evolving infectious disease risks, including this one. If a patient meets the current CDC criteria, and is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus, we will isolate the patient in a private room and take proper respiratory precautions to safely assess and treat them

If you are ill with fever and cough or shortness of breath and have had travel to any region that has known community spread of coronavirus, please contact your primary care provider before coming to the clinic so we can be sure to provide you with the best care possible while doing everything we can to keep our community healthy.

It’s still flu season. We continue to encourage all our patients and the community to practice good respiratory hygiene habits, like washing hands frequently and covering mouths while coughing especially during times like this where catching the flu is a far greater risk.

In summary, the best things you can do to prevent the spread of illness are:

  • Wash your hands well before eating, drinking, or touching your face
  • Get your annual flu shot and
  • Get a pneumonia shot if you have not already and are above the age of 65 or have diabetes or other illnesses that affect your heart or lungs.

CHRISTUS Health currently convenes daily, sometimes more, to check in on our emergency preparedness plans. We have had many hands on deck during this process. Nearly everyone — from physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — is involved in making sure we can do best for our patients our Associates and this community we serve.

For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 visit

Our Locations

CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital
4200 Nelson Road
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70605

CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital
524 Dr. Michael Debakey Drive
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601

Coronavirus Disease 2019

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)