NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Alarming numbers of covid cases are on the rise in Louisiana, a frightening foreshadowing of what could happen over the holidays.
“We have seen what now just hardens your heart, and that is the beginning of a surge,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Chief Medical Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center.
The Omicron variant is showing no signs of slowing down and its impact is apparent in the state’s latest covid data.
“Our seven day average incidence, so these are the new cases per capita, it increased 60% this week compared to last week,” said state epidemiologist Theresa Sokol.
The state’s percent positivity is also on track to jump more than 1% in just a week. Last week, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 2.2% positivity. Now, that number is at 3.3%.
“From the hospital perspective, we’re preparing, but as we’ve talked about before, we have trouble preparing without the community,” said Dr. O’Neal.
Doctors are asking everyone, especially those who plan to travel, to take the right precautions, like masking up, getting vaccinated and getting tested.
“We want folks to be tested before traveling, before gathering and again when you return,” said Sokol.
For those who plan to travel for the holidays — and those who plan to stay — doctor’s say right now, covid isn’t going anywhere and we have to work together for the sake of the future.
“We know that if we all take out our covid playbook together that we can help to at least dampen this surge. I think it’s coming and our community has to prepare for it, but how high it gets, how painful this gets for all of our families — it depends on our community,” said Dr. O’Neal.
Medical experts add that by Wednesday, at least 75% of Louisiana parishes are expected to be at the highest rate of transmission.