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Louisiana COVID hospitalizations continue to rise, but may be slowing

Some good news: some regions, including Baton Rouge, actually saw hospitalization levels drop on Wednesday.

NEW ORLEANS — The number of COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals slightly increased on Wednesday, topping 2,900 patients across the state and continuing a two-week streak of record hospitalizations.

Louisiana COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by a net of six on Wednesday to a total of 2,901. That increase is far lower than some days earlier this week which saw daily totals increase by more than 100. 

The new figures published by the Louisiana Department of Health did have some good news: some regions of the state, including Baton Rouge, actually saw hospitalization levels drop on Wednesday. However, it may still be too soon if that is an indicator that this record-setting fourth wave of the virus is cresting.

Louisiana reported 5,268 new cases and 54 new deaths. State health officials say the number of cases may not peak for several more weeks. In total, 11,462 people have died in the state due to the virus.

The rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. is once again overwhelming hospitals, especially in hot spots such as Louisiana, which set a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations last week. Resources have been strained to the limit across the state with hospitals starting to turn away people with other life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. Some elective surgeries and non-urgent care have been suspended.

The state health department also published new data on the vaccine rollout in the state - including that 48,324 doses had been given since Monday. Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., with nearly 38% fully inoculated.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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