BATON ROUGE, La. — The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Louisiana topped 2,000 patients on Wednesday, higher than the peak count during the surge in January 2021.
Figures published by the Louisiana Department of Health show hospitalizations increased by 82 patients on Wednesday to a total of 2,081 people hospitalized. About 75 percent of those patients are not fully vaccinated.
Louisiana was reporting about 200 state-wide hospitalizations in mid-December before the highly contagious Omicron variant began surging through the state. The highest level of hospitalizations recorded was 3,022 patients in Aug. 2021 amid the Delta variant’s surge.
“We know that the more people that end up in the hospital, the tougher things are going to be for our state,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday. “The hospitals are trying to deliver care for anyone who needs care, not just for COVID patients.”
Edwards said Louisiana is seeing an increase in hospitalizations among young children, adding that 92 children were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 last week.
“That is higher than we saw during the Delta surge,” Edwards said. “We owe it to our healthcare workers and to each other to stop this surge by masking, limiting exposures, and getting our vaccines and boosters.”
In recent days. Louisiana has repeatedly broken new records for single-day increases in new cases. On Wednesday, Louisiana reported 17,592 new cases in a single day, followed by another 14,932 on Thursday. The state has set new records for single-day increases in cases four times since Dec. 30.
And experts like Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer, say Omicron cases have not yet peaked in the state.
“Percent positivity, unfortunately, continues to rise. Last week it was 27.1%. It’s up to 28.6% right now,” Kanter said.
Edwards’ latest extension to his pandemic emergency order is set to expire next week, but he says he does not expect to make any changes to the state’s current restrictions including adding a statewide mask mandate. The City of New Orleans announced earlier this week that it was reinstating its mask mandate until further notice.