NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Health reported new 2,843 cases and 15 additional deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday.
According to LDH, there were 913 COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized across the state on Wednesday, an increase of 69 from the prior day's report. Hospitalizations in Louisiana have increased by 350% in the last three weeks.
According to LDH's data, ICU beds in region three were at 98% capacity on Wednesday, with only six beds available. Region three includes Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Mary, St. James, St. John the Baptist, and Terrebonne parishes.
The health department said 98% of the new cases reported Thursday were community spread and not in congregate settings like nursing homes.
The LDH said that there were 30,290 doses of the vaccine administered since Monday, bringing the percentage of Louisiana's population that has received at least one dose to just above 40%.
New Orleans officials say they are strongly recommending that people resume wearing masks indoors as the city experiences a surge of new COVID-19 cases to levels not seen in months.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell stopped short Wednesday of requiring mask-wearing. She said the advisory being issued “puts the responsibility on individuals themselves,” rather than having the city enforce a mandate. The seven-day average of new cases in the city hit 117 Wednesday, the highest it's been since early February. It had been as low as eight in June.
Officials continue to stress the need for people to get vaccinated to guard against the highly contagious delta variant.