The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Acadiana, and now is the time to tighten up on our COVID-19 mitigation efforts. It has been proven already that mitigation efforts (think masking, social distancing, and not gathering in large groups) work in helping to lower the number of positive coronavirus cases, so we need to remain vigilant.

The Chief Medical Officers from Lourdes and Ochsner Lafayette General along with the Region 4 Medical Director worked together on a Public Service Announcement to encourage the citizens of Acadiana to make smart choices.

We get it: it's the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are probably the biggest holidays for seeing relatives and friends from out-of-town and, unfortunately, they also stand to be the biggest super-spreader events of the year.

This PSA urges everyone to make the right choices during this surge in coronavirus cases, but it also warns that the right choices will probably be the hardest.

Now is not the time to be selfish: now is the time to think about those that are the most vulnerable.

Region 4 (which includes Lafayette) is above a 10% COVID-19 positive rate, which means this: one out of every 10 people in your crew might have the coronavirus. If that one person is asymptomatic, he or she could be spreading the virus to dozens of others, without even knowing it.

It's not an easy decision, but it's the right decision: keep your holiday gatherings small, to include only your immediate household/family. If you do gather with others you don't normally gather with, mask up, spread out, and keep your hands clean.

If this might be your elderly relative's last holiday season without coronavirus, imagine the odds of it being their last WITH coronavirus. I, for one, wouldn't want to be responsible for another's suffering.

If you DO decide to have a large gathering for the holidays, keep reading; you might need some of the information from the following article.