BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana reported 1,936 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the largest single-day increase in virus cases since early February 2021.
The Louisiana Department of Health said COVID-19 positive hospitalizations also continued to rise across the state. In total, 468 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized as of Wednesday - a similar level seen in mid-March.
The surge in hospitalizations is significant in LDH's three regions that include southeast Louisiana. In Region 3, which includes Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. James, Assumption and St. Mary parishes, hospitalizations have nearly quadrupled since July 1 - from 11 to 43 patients hospitalized.
In New Orleans, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state, health leaders fear that the Delta variant is encroaching from other parishes with lagging vaccination rates. New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno pleaded again with residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine to prevent further spread of the variant.
Avegno added that mask mandates and other efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus at large events are likely to continue into the fall as the dangerous variant spreads.
The U.S. has seen a string of COVID-19 outbreaks tied to summer camps in recent weeks - including in the New Orleans area - in what some fear could be a preview of the upcoming school year.
The clusters have come as the number of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reversed course, surging more than 60% over the past two weeks from an average of about 12,000 a day to around 19,500, according to data from John Hopkins University.
The rise in many places has been blamed on too many unvaccinated people and the highly contagious Delta variant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.