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Northshore hospitals 'nearing capacity,' coroner warns

Across Louisiana, COVID-19 hospitalizations have nearly doubled from the 762 patients reported just one week ago.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — St. Tammany's health care system is nearing capacity as the Omicron variant spreads through the Northshore, the coroner warned.

St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said that some hospitals are diverting ambulances because of a lack of beds and many urgent cares are reaching capacity ever day.

“The COVID-19 Omicron variant is spreading rapidly, and the health care system is struggling to keep up with patient loads and requests for testing," Dr. Preston said. “ERs are not the place for COVID tests or other non-emergent healthcare needs."

He did encourage anyone with a medical emergency, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing and serious wounds, to never hesitate to go to an emergency room.

“I encourage residents to call their primary care providers for most needs, and I continue to stress the value of COVID vaccines and boosters, in addition to voluntary masking," Dr. Preston said.

Across Louisiana, COVID-19 hospitalizations have nearly doubled from the 762 patients reported just one week ago.

The Louisiana Department of Health said there were 1,412 people hospitalized across the state with the virus on Thursday, an increase of 125 patients since the previous day’s update. Of those patients, 76 percent were not fully vaccinated.

Louisiana reported 14,077 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, breaking another single-day record for new cases since the start of the pandemic.

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