Louisiana Reports 3rd-Highest Daily COVID-19 Count
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — 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.
New Orleans had been a Southern hot spot for COVID-19 early in 2020. Mitigation measures saw the city shut down bars, dine-in restaurants and numerous other businesses vital to the tourist-driven economy. Restrictions spilled over into this year, when major Mardi Gras events were canceled. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which was canceled in 2020, this year was postponed from its usual spring dates until this fall.