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With COVID hospitalizations at all-time high, St. Tammany hospital scales up COVID units

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has skyrocketed on the Northshore in the last four weeks.

COVINGTON, La. — The St. Tammany Health System said there were more people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday than at any other point during the coronavirus pandemic.

Melissa Hodgson, a spokesperson for the health system, said there were 67 patients hospitalized in COVID care Wednesday morning. That tops the previous peak COVID inpatient census of 66 that was set in January.

The hospital said 85 percent of COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated against the coronavirus.

Hodgson said the hospital is converting and scaling up more COVID units, with plans to increase its capacity further.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has skyrocketed on the Northshore in the last four weeks, increasing by 530% since July 1. As of Tuesday, there were 225 patients hospitalized in the state's Northshore region, with only 24 ICU beds available.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 41 percent of St. Tammany Parish's population is vaccinated.

The state's health department on Tuesday reported its second-highest total of new COVID-19 cases since early January. It also reported its highest hospitalization count since early February. 

The new figures come as state officials increasingly urge the public to get vaccinated as medical staff again are stretched thin by the state's fourth surge since the pandemic began.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.