COVID cases and hospitalizations on the rise

Coronavirus

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Across Louisiana, COVID vaccine rates are nearly stagnant as the state enters a fourth surge of the virus.

The more contagious Delta variant is spreading.

Nearly four thousand new COVID cases were reported and 13 new deaths in Louisiana. The number of COVID patients hospitalized has risen to more than 700.

As concerns over the more contagious delta variant surge, COVID-19 cases are spiking. Much of southeast Louisiana is at highest risk of widespread transmission and doctors say many cases are asymptomatic.

“We’re at the highest number that we’ve been at in months,” said Dr. Mike Hill, an infectious disease specialist at St. Tammany Health.

32 people are hospitalized with COVID at St. Tammany Health, double the amount from last week.

“These are younger patients and the vast majority of them are unvaccinated,” Dr. Hill said.

The youngest hospitalized at St. Tammany Health is 16, but the majority of cases are people between 40 and 60 years old. Dr. Hill stresses catching COVID is less likely if you are vaccinated.

“If you’re not vaccinated, you’re going to get this virus,” Dr. Hill said. “It’s that contagious. Probably close to 90 to 100% of cases are the delta variant because it is so contagious.”

Dr. Hill said the Delta variant is 250 times more contagious than the initial COVID-19 virus.

“It is frustrating to know that we’ve got something out there that could prevent this from happening, but the reason it is happening here in Louisiana is because we have a very low vaccination rate.”

Several visitors in the French Quarter are concerned the good times could come to an end if more shots don’t get into arms.

“It’s free,” said Denis Reynolds visiting from Texas. “It’s to protect us…all of us.”

Tyra Cook visiting from Independence, Louisiana said, “I think we’ll be going back inside if they don’t.”

Meanwhile, New Orleans resident Ebbra Gordon believes restrictions need to come back if the numbers do not improve.

“Particularly the mask mandate and capacity limits.”

A spokesperson for Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, “We continue to look at the data and expect to make an announcement later this week.”

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