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Delta variant and lack of vaccinations leads to more hospitalizations in Louisiana

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Right now, there are more than 460 people fighting COVID in a Louisiana hospital and health officials say most of the cases are the Delta variant.

Doctors say this variant has different symptoms. Folks are more likely to get allergy symptoms like a headache or congestion than the loss of taste or smell, which, up until now, has been the biggest red flag for COVID.

“We found that the Delta variant is responsible for more than half of our positive new cases,” said Dr. Dawn Marcelle, LDH Region 2 director. “Actually, at last count, 54% and it is of concern because it is contagious and it can cause serious illness.”

Hospitalizations are going up around the state and in the Baton Rouge area. Doctors blame the spike on low vaccination rates in the face of a more dangerous COVID variant. Baton Rouge General said it is treating 23 COVID patients, the highest number since April. Our Lady of the Lake is in the same boat as well and its doctors said most of the patients are young adults.

“Then, our numbers of admits for COVID-19 have increased over the past couple of weeks, opening new units, being prepared to take care of more patients, the same thing that we’ve done at the beginning of every surge,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, the chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake.

O’Neal believes getting a shot is the key to keeping cases and variants down. However, some people are not sold on getting a shot, even after getting sick.

WAFB asked on Facebook if you would get a shot even after getting COVID. About half said no and only 38% said yes. The rest of you were undecided.

“When I hear people talk about why they don’t want the vaccine, you find a whole list of reasons. It’s because people don’t want to take the vaccine. What we see from our perspective is that if you don’t take the vaccine, you are going to be a patient of ours,” explained O’Neal.

“One thing I can say is that it is the truth. We are truthfully sharing factual data,” added Marcelle.

The state health department and hospitals hope that showing that there’s a surge happening right now, more will reconsider getting that shot.

O’Neal also said medical officials are preparing for other surges at this point and they wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to see an increase all the way into November.

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