NEW ORLEANS — COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Louisiana continue to drop as the state approaches the one-year mark since the first case of the virus was confirmed in New Orleans.
On Sunday, the state lists 630 people as hospitalized because of COVID-19 or complications from the virus, continuing a downward trend that has been ongoing since the beginning of February. On average, hospitalizations have been dropping by about 31 patients per day since Feb. 3.
Only 91 of those patients are on ventilators as of Sunday.
The state has counted a total of 430,100 cases of coronavirus since March 9, 2020. Of those, the Louisiana Department of Health estimates just under 410,000 patients have recovered from the virus.
Another 9,600 people in Louisiana have died from the virus or complications caused by it.
But that number, coupled with the estimated number of recoveries in the state, indicates that there are around 10,000 active cases of coronavirus in a statewide population of 4.6 million.
That number is especially encouraging as more vaccines become available in the state. With the inclusion of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine, Louisianans will have a shot at getting a shot from three different distributers.
Already, about 7% of the state's population has been vaccinated, mirroring the 7% recorded nationally.
Most of those vaccines are to frontline health workers and elderly patients at the highest risk of serious complications from the virus, but a recent loosening of the vaccine eligibility requirements now allows teachers to get the shots.
State officials hope to open up distribution even further, eventually reaching the general public with no restrictions, as the U.S. ramps up its delivery efforts.
In the meantime, health experts are reminding people to continue taking precautions, including social distancing and mask use. Especially because Louisiana has seen promising signs before, only to have the hope of recovery dashed by an outbreak of the virus when restrictions loosened.