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COVID cases rising again

NLMC ready for next surge
Friday, July 23, 2021
COVID cases rising again

The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln Parish jumped by double digits for the third consecutive day on Thursday as Northern Louisiana Medical Center braces for another influx of patients with the respiratory illness.

“We see that coming, and we are prepared,” Pam Sampognaro, NLMC’s chief quality officer, said.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 10 additional cases in Lincoln Parish from Wednesday to Thursday, for a total of 3,571 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The parish has had another 1,323 probable cases over the same time period.

Sampognaro said NLMC is already seeing another uptick in the number of COVID patients coming through its emergency department, most of whom are younger than were previous COVID patients.

The hospital is also beginning to see more breakthrough cases, Sampognaro said. A breakthrough case is one that occurs in someone who has had the COVID-19 vaccine.

But patients with breakthrough cases aren’t as sick as unvaccinated patients, she said.

“The vaccine definitely is minimizing the effect,” Sampognaro said.

So far, all of the new COVID cases, breakthrough and otherwise, have been the more rapidly spreading Delta variant, she said.

The variant is the dominant strain in Louisiana and what’s fueling the state’s fourth surge of the potentially deadly virus, state health officials say.

The Delta variant is responsible for at least 59% of the new COVID cases the federal health region that includes Louisiana, according to LDH.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. today to address the status of COVID-19.

Statewide, cases have increased by more than 400 over the last seven days, with hospitalizations back at levels not seen since February. As of Thursday, 913 people were hospitalized with COVID, 65 of them on ventilators.

Locally, as of Thursday, NLMC had only two COVID patients, down from five last week. Of the two current patients, one is on a ventilator, Sampognaro said.

She said most of the recently admitted COVID patients have been unvaccinated.

Slightly over 30% of Lincoln Parish residents are fully vaccinated, according to figures from LDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up about 1% from a month ago.

About 36% of Louisianans are fully vaccinated.