Gov. Edwards, LDH says too early to panic about Omicron, urges to get vaccinated

Gov. Edwards gives update on state’s response to COVID-19, omicron variant
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 5:39 PM CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards said it was far too early to panic about the new Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 virus.

No cases of the Omicron Variant have been reported in Louisiana. Dr. Joseph Kanter, head of the Louisiana Department of Health, said the state’s health department is testing every single covid positive case for the new variant. Still, Kanter said the state should prepare as if the variant will ultimately arrive.

“We don’t know what the track is going to be, we don’t know how strong it is, but you’re paying attention and you’re probably preparing,” Kanter said. “Right now preparing means getting vaccinated.”

Despite the threat of Omicron, Gov. Edwards said the state is in much better shape heading into the holidays.

“We want people to be aware and concerned but certainly not panicked,” he said.

Currently, Baton Rouge General is only reporting 10 cases, its covid units have been shutters. At this point last year it was reporting 62 cases. Our Lady of the Lake is reporting 12 as of Friday compared to 71 this time last year. Ochsner is reporting zero cases, compared to 28 on the same date last year.

“We don’t want to go back to August, we don’t want to go back to last January, we don’t want to go back to last Christmas day because we have things available to us today that weren’t available a year ago and principally that is the vaccine,” Gov. Edwards said.

Edwards was asked if he would consider implementing restrictions should a surge come from the new Omicron variant, he said it is still far too early to tell.

“My mind isn’t there,” he said. “We are nowhere near that. If we will all do what is prudent at this point, it is far less likely that we ever get there.”

Only 49% of the state is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a number the Governor said is woefully low.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2021 WAFB. All rights reserved.