In Response to Recent COVID-19 Surge, Northshore Hospital Leaders Come Together to Urge Residents to be Safe in #MaskUp Campaign

LOUISIANA NORTHSHORE—Northshore hospital leaders are coming together to urge residents to mask up in response to the recent local surge in COVID-19 cases. This announcement comes as the St. Tammany Parish coroner issued a coronavirus warning that St. Tammany coronavirus cases have doubled daily in November, averaging 78 new cases per day.

“Our community needs to come together on this,” said Hiral Patel, CEO of Lakeview Regional Medical Center. “While the average person will recover from COVID, your grandmother may not, your aunt may not, your friends may not. We as a health community ask you to be smart, be safe, and mask up.”

The mortality rate in St. Tammany Parish currently remains flat, but the increasing infection rate throughout the Northshore parishes is generally a leading indicator of increased COVID hospitalizations and deaths to come. According to the Louisiana Department of Health weekly report for Nov. 18, Tangipahoa Parish alone has experienced a significant 40 percent spike in its percent positivity rate, increasing from 8 to 12 percent.

“We know it’s hard to stay vigilant and wear a mask every day,” said Sandy Badinger, Chief Executive Officer of Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Medical Center – Northshore. “But we also know the science has not changed – masks and social distancing slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The pandemic directly impacts local healthcare teams, said Joan M. Coffman FACHE, President and CEO of St. Tammany Health System. “Our heroes on the COVID units bring new therapies and save lives each day. Feeling our community upholding them in the fight sustains their resilience, so mask up. It matters.”

Hospital leaders decided to band together this week with this message, in part, because of the Thanksgiving holiday and the risks associated with large gatherings. “As we prepare to celebrate the holidays, we implore each resident and visitor to wear a mask and consider the health of others in everything you do,” said John Herman, Chief Executive Officer – Ochsner Health, Northshore Region. New Centers for Disease Control guidelines say it is best to limit Thanksgiving to those within your household.

“We know Louisianans celebrate best by being close together, but this year we need you to think of the health of others first and socially distance,” said Michele Kidd Sutton, President/Chief Executive Officer of North Oaks Health System.

Safety guidelines to follow throughout the holiday season include keeping group sizes small, continuing to social distance, using disposable dinnerware, spending time outdoors when possible and masking up when it isn’t. “These guidelines can help keep us safe and flatten the curve,” said Rene J. Ragas, President of Our Lady of the Angels Hospital. “If we all do this now, next year, we can enjoy time with family and friends again.”

Additional recommendations on how to celebrate the holidays safely can be found on the CDC’s website.


Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center and the first trauma center in St. Tammany Parish, is conveniently located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, just south of I-12 on Hwy. 190. Lakeview Regional is a 167-bed, private, acute-care hospital delivering award-winning, cost-effective healthcare for more than 40 years.

North Oaks Health System is one of Louisiana’s largest and most progressive community hospital organizations with a mission to improve lives, every time and with every touch. Facilities in Tangipahoa and Livingston parishes include an acute care hospital that serves as the region’s only Level II Trauma Center, a rehabilitation hospital, two outpatient diagnostic & treatment centers, an outpatient surgery center, two outpatient rehabilitation clinics, a hospice agency and a growing physician group for primary and specialty care.

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. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision.

Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, has more than 500 team members committed to building a healthier community through excellence in patient care and community education. With a full-service acute care hospital, more than a dozen primary and specialty clinics, extended primary care and pediatric hours and a team of more than 300 credentialed providers, Our Lady of the Angels provides comprehensive healthcare services for common to complex conditions for the people of Washington Parish and the surrounding areas.

Slidell Memorial Hospital is a full-service 223-bed acute care not-for-profit community hospital located at 1001 Gause Blvd., in the heart of Slidell. Founded in 1959, SMH serves as a primary healthcare resource for families in St. Tammany Parish, La., and Pearl River County, Miss.

St. Tammany Health System is the heartbeat of its community, caring for patients and families with excellence, compassion and teamwork. It is recognized for quality, safety and service excellence by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. Self-supporting, not-for-profit STHS is A+ rated by Fitch and receives no ad valorem tax funding.