NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana broke another grim coronavirus-related milestone on Tuesday: the largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the state's third surge of the virus in January 2021.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported 6,797 new cases and 20 deaths due to COVID-19 on Tuesday. There were 169 more patients hospitalized with COVID-19 than on Monday, bringing the total hospitalizations across the state to 1,390.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said 90 percent of those patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated.
"That's the largest single-day increase in hospitalizations since the end of March 2020, when we did not have vaccines for COVID," Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for Edwards' office said.
The LDH said the latest update shows an increase in cases among all parts of the state and all age groups, with the largest shares among 18 to 29-year-olds and the Baton Rouge region.
Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased more than 530% from the 259 reported on July 1, just nearly four weeks ago. The dramatic surge in hospitalizations has prompted several hospitals across the state, including in the New Orleans area, to suspend non-essential surgeries that could result in overnight stays.
Beau Tidwell, a spokesperson for the New Orleans mayor's office, said that hospitals are being overwhelmed with people waiting in emergency rooms.
"Hospitals are literally turning people away," Beau Tidwell, a spokesperson for the New Orleans mayor's office said. "They have limited resources and are being stretched.
"You could be waiting in an inpatient bed hours, if not days, at this point," he added.
State and local leaders are recommending that residents - both vaccinated and unvaccinated - wear masks while indoors if six feet of physical distance can not be maintained.
"I am pleading with everyone who is not vaccinated and is of age to make the decision today to get vaccinated," Edwards said.
This is a developing story. Stay with WWL-TV for updates.