NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Health reported 4,814 new cases and 34 new deaths from the coronavirus on Friday, though those numbers were inflated due to a backlog of cases stretching from as far back as September.
The health department says the backlog included 69,125 tests, of which 2,538 cases were positive. The remaining 2,276 cases and 34 deaths were part of the state’s normal daily COVID-19 update.
Despite Friday’s backlogs, health leaders warn that the percentage of new tests returning positive, as well as hospitalizations, are increasing across the state. There are also notable increases in cases among nursing home residents and staff over the past week.
Last week, LDH reported the biggest single-day increase in new cases since the start of the pandemic.
Doctors from across the state joined Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday imploring residents to change their traditional Thanksgiving plans to stop the spread of the virus.
"Make no mistake, Louisiana is in the third surge of this pandemic," Edwards said. "This surge is clearly worse than the first two - nationwide."
Experts say celebrations around Halloween likely caused a spike in cases, sparking fears that Thanksgiving and Christmas could potentially do the same.