NEW ORLEANS — The number of COVID-19 patients in Louisiana hospitals continued to grow on Thursday.
The Louisiana Department of Health said 1,325 patients were hospitalized with the virus across the state, an increase of 37 compared to Wednesday. The state also reported an additional 2,774 new cases and 23 deaths due to the virus in the previous 24 hours.
The health department’s data showed that nearly all of the intensive care beds at Lafayette area hospitals were in use on Wednesday. The LDH said only four of Region Four’s 156 beds were not in use. Region Four includes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region Four have been sharply increasing since mid-October. On Wednesday there were 226 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the region, compared to just 43 patients hospitalized two months ago.
According to figures released Thursday, the U.S. has recorded over 3,100 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, obliterating the record set last spring. The number of Americans hospitalized with the virus has eclipsed 100,000 for the first time and new cases have begun topping 200,000 a day.
The three benchmarks altogether show a country slipping deeper into crisis, with perhaps the worst yet to come. Millions of Americans disregarded warnings to stay home over Thanksgiving and celebrate only with members of their household.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says his state should receive its first doses of a coronavirus vaccine within weeks if the proposed drug wins federal approval as expected.
Edwards said the state’s frontline hospital workers and nursing home residents and staff should be vaccinated by the early part of January.
The first glimpse of those vaccine details came at a Wednesday briefing where Edwards was joined by Adm. Brett Giroir. Giroir is the federal assistant health secretary who oversees U.S. testing operations for the Trump administration. Giroir cautioned that it still will be months before most people have access to a vaccine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.