NEW ORLEANS — The governor’s top health advisor said coronavirus cases are spiking in the Louisiana, driven by informal gatherings in people’s homes over the holidays.
“Things are as bad now as they ever have been,” Dr. Joe Kanter said. “We do anticipate that they’re going to get worse.”
Louisiana is averaging more than 2,800 new confirmed infections each day over the last week.
More than 7,500 COVID-19 deaths in the state have been confirmed since March, with dozens more added each day in recent weeks.
“All of our 64 parishes are in the highest category of community transmission risk according to the CDC,” Kanter said. “Percent positivity for the state is well above 10 percent. Hospitalizations are above both of our previous spikes.”
Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels is the chief medical officer at Crescent Care Health Center in New Orleans.
He says his clinic has seen an alarming increase in patients coming in to be tested for COVID.
"We don’t see any signs of it slowing down,” Van Sickels said. “We see consistently high numbers in Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish and transmission rates and everything that’s going on right now, not plateauing, only going up.”
Tulane infectious disease doctor David Mushatt said COVID fatigue is also playing a role in this latest surge.
He is urging people to continue to follow all CDC mitigation measures.
“Just a little bit longer,” Dr. Mushatt said. “Keep it up. Wear your mask. Keep your distance, avoid gatherings. If enough of us do that, we can save lives.”
Doctors say with the NFL playoffs upon us and Carnival season just around the corner, folks need to be thinking now about how to safely enjoy those events.
“Don’t do anything that is optional,” Van Sickels said. “What I would consider optional would be even dining out or taking a trip, postpone that for now. We’ve got to crush the curve again.”
“We think the next couple of weeks are going to be challenging,” Kanter said.
Governor John Bel Edwards just renewed state Coronavirus rules that have been in place since November.
They include a statewide mask mandate, limits on crowd sizes and other restrictions for businesses, bars and restaurants.