NEW ORLEANS — As the state tries to get a handle on a new surge in COVID cases there’s frustration from state leaders, who say the surge is preventable if people would just get vaccinated.
As vaccination events aim to get more people vaccinated, Governor John Bel Edwards says not enough people are showing up.
“Right now we have about 40 percent of our people who’ve taken at least one shot. That is nowhere near where we need to be,” said Edwards during a news conference Friday.
The governor said that low vaccination rate means high COVID numbers across the state. There are so many new cases that Louisiana now has the highest growth rate of new cases per capita in the country, a place the state has been before.
“We are ordering about ten percent of the vaccine doses available to us because that’s all we need to administer doses to those people showing up to be vaccinated,” said Edwards.
Currently, Edwards says the state’s percent positivity rate is 8.7 percent. That’s up from 6.3 percent last week. Governor Edwards expects a jump to at least ten percent by next week. Frustrated over this new surge, mostly from the Delta Variant, the governor hopes new recommendations can help stop transmission.
“We are at the tip of the spear of the surge,” said Edwards.
To fight that surge, masks are now recommended for everyone when indoors if social distancing cannot be maintained, regales of vaccination status.
Business are being asked to review employee accommodations and any potential exposure to COVID should be tested immediately. If positive, isolate. If negative, test again in five to seven days.
“We have not really seen any signs yet that it is slowing. We’re very much in the upslope and that is not a comforting place to be,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health.
Dr. Kanter said Louisiana lost six months of progress in just two weeks. When it comes to new COVID cases and deaths reported last week, Kanter says more than 90 percent are people who are not fully vaccinated.
“Your best ability to prevent getting sick, severely sick with COVID, being hospitalized or dying from COVID is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Kanter.
With more than 1,400 vaccination locations across the state, the governor is pleading with people to show up.
“This surge is on us. How bad it gets, how long it stays bad, how many people ultimately die, on us,” said Edwards. “We can do better. It is entirely within our control. We just have to do it.”
The White House has listed Louisiana as a state of concern. The CDC is looking to make decisions and recommendations for the rest of the country based off what’s happening in Louisiana.