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Louisiana's COVID-19 hospitalizations reach highest level in 8 months

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 1,602 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized across the state on Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS — The number of people in Louisiana hospitalized with COVID-19 has reached its highest level in eight months, surpassing heights exceeding the state's summer surge of the coronavirus disease.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 1,602 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized across the state on Thursday, an increase of 18 compared to the previous day's report. Of those patients, 169 require use of ventilators.

Thursday's total, the highest since April 22, surpassed the peak of 1,600 hospitalizations set on July 27, set during the virus' second surge through Louisiana. It still remains far below the highest level of 1,991 hospitalizations set on April 12 in the first few weeks after the outbreak was detected.

Dr. Catherine O’Neal is an infectious disease expert at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. She says the Baton Rouge hospital admitted the largest number of COVID-19 patients over 24 hours than it’s seen in a similar period since July.

The state department of health reported an additional 31 deaths and 3,851 new cases of the virus since Wednesday. In total, 279,321 cases have been reported and 6,964 people have died in Louisiana since the first case was discovered in early March.

Gov. John Bel Edwards says at least 7,000 of Louisiana’s hospital workers have received vaccines so far.

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