Omicron Surge: 20% of COVID Tests Positive in Louisiana

Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

The Louisiana Department of Health reported on Monday that out of 12,831 COVID-19 tests taken across the state, 2,619 came back positive. That’s around 20 percent of the tests reported resulting in new cases. With families gathering for the holidays and New Year’s Eve celebrations right around the corner, the LDH is urging residents to take every precaution possible to protect themselves and others.

“Omicron is surging. Those who are not vaccinated are not protected,” the LDH said. “Please take precautions as you gather and celebrate with loved ones this holiday season. Wear your mask, get boosted if eligible, work remotely if possible, & limit your exposure to those outside your household.”

In addition to the surging number of positive cases, LDH reported Sunday that hospitalizations have doubled over the last week, with 449 people hospitalized across the state. The last time the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations was this high was mid-October during the peak of the fourth (and worst) surge of the pandemic thus far.

Perhaps more concerning is that as of Sunday there were 1,231 reinfections of COVID-19 reported. Reinfections are not recorded on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, but the LDH notes that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than previous strains and may carry an increased risk of reinfection compared to previous variants.

“Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. The Omicron surge further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.”

In Orleans Parish, testing sites will not reopen until Tuesday, and with the surge in cases statewide, NOLA Ready is expecting a surge of residents waiting to get tested.

“Just a reminder that Mahalia Jackson & UNO Arena sites are closed today in observance of the holidays,” NOLA Ready tweeted. “Sites will re-open tomorrow at 8 AM, but expect long lines.”

The LDH recommends all residents get tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling or gathering with those outside their everyday household. Tests should be taken one to two days before travel, and three to five days after travel.

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