Louisiana’s COVID hospitalizations double in 1 week

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled in one week as the coronavirus’s highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread., the state Department of Health tweeted on Monday.

“#Omicron is surging,” several tweets began.

The tweets urged people to get vaccinations and booster shots, mask up and take other precautions.

The department said in a press release Sunday that 449 people in Louisiana were hospitalized with COVID-19, twice the number a week earlier.

“The last time we reported this many COVID-19 hospitalizations was mid-October, as we came down from our third and then-worst COVID-19 surge. Eighty percent of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated,” the news release said.

One of Monday’s tweets said the test positivity rate was up to 20% on Sunday with 2,619 new COVID-19 cases reported out of 12,831 tests.

On Sunday, the department reported that 9,545 of 59,139 new tests since Thursday were positive — or about 16%.

‘”Another 1,231 people in Louisiana have been reinfected with COVID-19 in the same time frame,” the news release said, noting that reinfections are not counted on the department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

“Emerging data show this new variant is more transmissible than previous strains and that Omicron may carry an increased risk of reinfection compared to other variants of concern,” the department said.

The state dashboard noted 17 new deaths, bringing the total to 14,970.

Last week, the department estimated that omicron may have infected 84.6% of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Louisiana during the week that ended Dec. 18.

Even vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public spaces, in any indoor space with people not in their immediate households, and outdoors if it’s not possible to keep at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others, Sunday’s news release said.

People who can should work remotely, and everyone should limit exposure to those outside their everyday household, it said.

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