NEW ORLEANS — The number of patients hospitalized in Louisiana with COVID-19 has steadily declined since reaching record peaks in early January.
As of Friday, the Louisiana Department of Health says there were 806 people hospitalized across the state with the coronavirus disease, of which 129 require ventilators. That figure is at its lowest level since mid-November. It is also significantly lower than the record 2069 patients reported on Jan. 7 amid the state’s third surge of COVID-19.
Louisiana has not reported an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since Feb. 2.
The rate of positive tests has slowed in Orleans and Jefferson parishes since the start of 2021. However, it is still too soon to see any effects the region’s muted Mardi Gras celebrations may have on cases.
Louisiana will soon expand coronavirus vaccine access to another half-million people next week. Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is allowing teachers, childcare workers, and older people with certain medical conditions to get the shots.
People who will be newly eligible starting Monday include K-12 teachers, administrators, and school support staff; and those who work at daycare centers, early learning facilities, and other sites that provide childcare. Pregnant women and people age 55 to 64 who have one of a dozen preexisting conditions are also included. Those conditions include cancer, Type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sickle cell disease, obesity, and chronic kidney disease, among others.
In total, 9,406 people have died in Louisiana due to COVID-19, with 421,846 cases reported in the state since the first case was discovered in March 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.