Louisiana reports 3rd-highest daily COVID-19 count

Louisiana health officials reported 5,388 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and said it’s the third-highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Hospitalizations for the disease rose to 844 statewide, up more than 600 since June 19.

The numbers were announced as state officials continued to stress the need for vaccination. Figures posted Wednesday show 1.6 million people, about 36% of the state’s population, are fully vaccinated.

In New Orleans, officials weighed a possible revival of at least some of the mitigation efforts that had been eased as the disease was waning. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the city’s top health official, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, were expected to make an announcement Wednesday afternoon. On Tuesday, Cantrell spokesman Beau Tidwell said “all options are on the table.”

The seven-day average of new cases reported daily in New Orleans had jumped to 99 by Tuesday, up from 11 two weeks ago. Tidwell said vaccinations are the key to stopping the spread, which is fueled by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Restrictions on gatherings and mask requirements had been greatly eased in recent months as vaccines became widely available.

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