Lafayette's largest hospital systems recently announced changes to their visitation policies in response to increased community spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Ochsner Lafayette General announced Wednesday evening that stricter visitation policies would go into effect Thursday morning in an effort to contain infection control. Our Lady of Lourdes hospital system announced changes Thursday evening that went into effect Friday morning.

The changes come as Lafayette Parish and the surrounding areas have experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations after several weeks of lower, more stable numbers.

In a joint video address last week, leaders of Ochsner Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes joined the region's top public health official to share the current reality they're facing and how they're preparing for a third wave of COVID-19 in Acadiana.

"I certainly understand COVID fatigue as much as anybody else does right now and would love nothing more than to enjoy some parties with my friends and families, but this is not the time for us to be able to do that," said Amanda Logue, chief medical officer of Ochsner Lafayette General. "We really need to focus until we can have good efforts in the nation with vaccines or additional treatments that are options for us, we have to hunker down and continue, especially throughout the holiday season." 

Both Lafayette General and Lourdes announced stricter visitation policies at their hospitals and campuses, including those undergoing inpatient and outpatient procedures, seeking emergency or intensive care treatment, going through labor and delivery, or visiting affiliated clinics. 

Visitors will undergo symptom screenings and be required to wear masks at all times at both hospital systems. In addition, patients are limited to one or two designated visitors in most circumstances throughout the duration of a hospital stay. Patients who are COVID-19 positive or suspected to have the virus will not be allowed visitors at both hospital systems, except in end-of-life situations.

Families are encouraged to use alternate means of communication, such as video calls, in place of in-person visitation.

"The way that the public can help us manage this third wave of the pandemic is first and foremost, wear a mask," said Dr. Henry Kaufman, chief medical officer of Lourdes. "There's no question now, within the scientific community, that masking is effective at reducing the spread of COVID disease. Also important: social distancing, good hand hygiene and a general awareness of how this disease is going to affect you, your family and your community at large."

Learn more about Lafayette General's visitation policies at lafayettegeneral.com/covid-19 and Lourdes' visitation policies at lourdesrmc.com/coronavirus/for-hospital-visitors.

Acadiana Business Today: Lafayette hospitals to limit visitation in response to community spread of coronavirus


Email Megan Wyatt at mwyatt@theadvocate.com.