NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit another record again in Louisiana — 2,720 — according to figures released Monday as the state continues to be one of the national epicenters for the virus.
Hospitalization totals released by the state health department in Baton Rouge were 299 higher than Friday’s figures. Ninety-one percent of those currently hospitalized had not been fully vaccinated, according to state data.
The state hit a record number of coronavirus pandemic hospitalizations last Tuesday and the number has grown each day.
There have been 16,541 new infections reported since Friday, including 3,106 cases involving children, according to state figures. Fifty more deaths were also recorded, bringing the state’s death toll from COVID-19 to at least 11,260 since the pandemic began.
The highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19, as well as the state’s low vaccination rate, are being blamed for the spread. The soaring case number has prompted the cancellation of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which was set for this fall, and this weekend’s annual Red Dress Run charity fundraiser in New Orleans.
According to Monday’s figures, close to 45% of Louisiana residents have taken their first shot of vaccine; nearly 38% are fully vaccinated, well below the national average.
“Simply put, there is just a massive amount of active COVID in Louisiana right now and you should be getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors,” Gov. John Bel Edwards spokesperson Christina Stephens said on Twitter.
Edwards, a devout Catholic, has begun three days of prayer and lunch fasting in honor of the state’s health care workers and those sick with COVID-19. He urged others to join him. The Democrat says he will be praying for those who are sick, for medical professionals, for a safe school year and for a slowing of the spread of the coronavirus.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.
Associated Press reporter Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge contributed to this story.