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State health officials worry about COVID-19 uptick

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

State health officials are concerned that upticks in the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations could be the beginning of a third surge of the virus.

Though they say it’s too early to know for sure whether another surge is coming, they’re convinced the culprit is the more virulent Delta variant.

“There’s very little doubt this is because of the Delta variant,” Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s chief public health adviser, said during a telephone briefing with reporters last week.

Over the last several weeks, Louisiana has seen daily increases in the number of COVID cases, a jump in the statewide positivity rate, and the statistic Kanter called “most troubling,” the hospitalizations.

As of noon Monday, LDH reported 2,395 new cases, up from 967 on

Friday, and 410 hospitalizations, up from 372 on Friday. Hospitalizations dropped to a low of 242 on June 19 but have been increasing since then.

In Lincoln Parish, newly confirmed cases are also creeping up, albeit slightly. Monday’s report showed a total of 3,522 confirmed cases since the count began in March of 2020. That’s a jump of nine confirmed cases since Friday. The count has gone up almost daily since mid-June.

The number of local COVID hospitalizations was unavailable; however, hospitalizations in the Lincoln Parish-inclusive public health Region 8 had dropped from 34 on July 10 to 29 on July 11, the latest day for which figures were available.

LDH says most of the patients hospitalized statewide have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

About 36% of eligible Louisiana residents are fully vaccinated. In Lincoln Parish, the figure is about 30%, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and LDH.

Meantime, Lincoln Parish appears to be in the large segment of Louisiana pinpointed by a Georgetown University study as among the most vulnerable areas for COVID cases.

The analysis identified 30 hotspots around the country where vaccination rates are low and the population relatively high. The Louisiana hotspot includes Shreveport, Monroe and Alexandria.