NEW ORLEANS — The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Louisiana dropped below 300 for the first time in more than a year on Sunday.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 292 COVID-19 positive patients were hospitalized across the state on Easter Sunday. That figure is the lowest since March 24, 2020, in the first reported surge of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued to decline from record levels set in early January as the state rolled out vaccine eligibility. As of Monday, the LDH reports that more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the state. Nearly 30 percent of the state has either started or completed its vaccine series.
Nationally, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said young people are driving the latest uptick on COVID-19 cases, as the increasing rate of vaccination in older Americans is preventing the most serious cases among seniors.
Walensky said in a briefing Monday that “cases are increasing nationally, and we are seeing this occur predominantly in younger adults.”
Walensky cites the increasing spread of variants, but also a rise in youth sports and extracurricular activities as contributing to the steady increase in cases over the last four weeks.
Walensky pointed to positive developments among the most vulnerable age group, saying senior citizens' virus deaths have reached their lowest levels since the early fall. Greater than 75% of those aged 65 or older nationally have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 55% are fully vaccinated.
Nearly 80% of Louisiana residents ages 70 and older have started or completed their vaccine series.
“What we’re seeing is both a decrease in emergency department visits as well as hospitalizations associated with that demographic," Walensky said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.