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Delta variant takes over as main strain of COVID in Louisiana as cases and hospitalizations spike

Over 4,300 cases in the last 7 days reported.
A new COVID-19 variant called Delta-Plus has been identified in the New Orleans area
A new COVID-19 variant called Delta-Plus has been identified in the New Orleans area(Credit: KALB)
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 10:25 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Health officials are concerned with a troubling uptick in COVID cases and hospitalizations as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes the main strain across the state.

Over 4,300 cases in Louisiana the last 7 days according to the CDC. LDH reports nearly 800 Thursday alone. This is the highest they’ve been since our winter surge, while the state struggles to persuade people to get vaccinated.

Dr. Joseph Kanter says it’s still too early to tell how bad this is going to get but it’s clear we aren’t out of the woods as much as we may have thought with cases more than doubling in the last two weeks

While Kanter says there’s no telling how our vaccines fair with future strains, he says they are still a good match for the Delta variant, which makes up 59% of our new COVID cases. The problem is we are second to last in the country when it comes to vaccination. Only 39-percent of the state is fully vaccinated.

99 percent of the people who died in June were unvaccinated Kanter pointed out and hospitals have been reporting the same percentage in their current COVID patients.

“I think most troubling to me is the increase in hospitalizations,” Kanter said.

Hospitalizations jumped up 100 people in the past two weeks. Now 351 are hospitalized in seven of the state’s nine regions and Kanter says they’re getting younger and sicker with the Delta variant

“I think we’re just in the beginning of it and it’s difficult to know where we are now, how severe of an increase this will be,” Kanter said.

New Orleans is doing well, hitting the 50-percent fully vaccinated mark Thursday, correlating with its low case count.

However, things are different on the Northshore.

“We’re doing more with our family and friends, we’re gathering in large crowds and people are not wearing masks, as well. and, you know those changes, coupled with the Delta variant and the low vaccination rates will lead to increased cases and increased hospitalizations, and we are seeing that on the Northshore,” Dr. Gina LaGarde, Medical Director for Northshore Region 9 said.

Kanter says the vaccine lottery helped a bit, but the state is still only taking a small percentage of its federal allotment because the interest has waned as the state’s positivity rate jumps almost a full percentage point

Kanter added there’s been a fraction of a percentage in breakthrough cases with vaccinated people because of the Delta variant but it seems to be in an older population. The average age for those cases is around 73 years old and it is still very rare.

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