Roundup: Vaccine mandate lawsuit / Contact tracing / Oyster beds back 

    Dismissed: A Lafayette Parish judge has dismissed a lawsuit against one of Louisiana’s largest regional health systems after dozens of employees sued over a COVID-19 vaccination mandate, The Center Square reports. Ochsner Lafayette General employs 4,500 workers across seven hospitals and in August told employees they must get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. In his ruling, Judge Thomas Frederick said Ochsner Lafayette General is a private employer, as opposed to a public employer or government agency, and therefore acted within its rights to impose the vaccine mandate. Read more. 

    Virus exposure: An LSU electrical and computer engineering professor and a team of students have developed a new COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app that notifies the user if they’ve been near someone who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. The GeauxTrace app—part of an $888,642 grant from the National Institutes of Health—uses Bluetooth signals to estimate distance from other smartphones and creates a contact map. If a user on the map reports as positive for the virus, other users who were in the proximity of the affected person will be notified, without sharing people’s identities. Read more from LSU. 

    Reopened: The Louisiana Department of Health today announced plans to reopen oyster beds that had been closed for nearly a month due to Hurricane Ida. The reopening of the select oyster beds deemed safe is one step forward in the ailing seafood industry’s return to normalcy. Read more.