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Days before Jazz Fest city sees uptick in COVID cases, officials say it's 'not an exponential growth'

NOLA Public Schools is reporting new infections of students and staff have gone from only two cases three weeks ago to currently 49 cases.

NEW ORLEANS — Covid-19 case counts are heading back up again in New Orleans. 

“I think we want to continue to monitor the cases as we’re doing throughout the community as well as in school settings,” said Dr. Ben Springgate, Chief of Community and Population Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans.  

NOLA Public Schools is reporting new infections of students and staff have gone from only two cases three weeks ago to currently 49 cases.

The city has gone from averaging 5 to 10 new infections a day a few weeks ago to about 50 a day. 

“This is something that we anticipated because we watched it in Europe,” New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said. “We’ve seen it happen in the Northeast and we knew it was a matter of time before our cases started to tick up.” 

Dr. Avegno says right now, the Covid case count is manageable. 

It’s far below the thousands of new infections a day during the height of the Omicron variant a few months ago. 

“Definitely an uptick, but not an exponential growth that we saw with Omicron and even not the severity of growth that we saw with Delta.” Avegno said. 

Dr. Springgate who is also an advisor to NOLA Public Schools says so far, the bump in new cases has not resulted in an increase in patients going to the hospital. 

“A lot of times now people do home tests,” Springgate said. “We don’t have the data associated with those tests. A lot of times people may not get tested at all if they’re sick. So, hospitalizations provide a very clear data point that we can point to and say things are getting pretty bad, potentially.” 

Tens of thousands of people are coming to New Orleans this weekend from across the country for the Jazz and Heritage Festival. Dr. Avegno had some advice for people heading out to the fest. 

“If you’re thinking about going out to Jazz Fest, but you’ve got that sore throat or lingering cough or that running nose, test yourself before you go,” she said. “Jazz Fest is two weekends, right. If you can’t go this weekend because you test positive, there’s always next weekend.” 

Doctors say now is a good time to make sure you are vaccinated and boosted. 

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