BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana is reporting the highest number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since early March as cases among unvaccinated people in the state surge, fueled by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
According to the latest coronavirus data from the Louisiana Department of Health, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations has ticked up to 504 as of Wednesday. The last time there were that many COVID patients in Louisiana hospitals was March 10, when there were 514. That was one week after the state moved into Phase 3 of reopening as cases and hospitalizations were finally trending down.
The LDH warned earlier this week of a COVID-19 surge in unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals, noting that 94% of the new cases reported since May 19 were individuals who were not fully vaccinated.
The number of new cases diagnosed each day has been increasing for the past 28 days and is now increasing in all nine regions of the state, according to state health officials.
The statewide positivity rate is also trending in the wrong direction, rising to levels not seen since early February. This key indicator has been on the rise for the past month, reaching 6.3% this week.
State health officials say the spread of the more infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is behind the new surge in cases and positivity rates. As of last week, it made up 59 percent of new cases in Louisiana.
The LDH reported 1,503 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 13 new deaths. The latest data brings the total confirmed cases in the state to 494,340 and 10,821 related deaths.
More than 1.67 million vaccine series have been completed statewide and another 1.8 million have been initiated, for a total of 3,380,229 doses administered to date. Only 30 percent of residents in Northwest Louisiana are vaccinated, compared to the statewide rate of just under 36 percent.
The state continues to push to increase vaccination rates. The winners of the first round cash and scholarship prizes in Louisiana’s Shot at a Million vaccination incentive lottery is set to be announced on Friday.
As of Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said 50% of adults in Louisiana have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.