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Caddo schools: “Please get vaccinated to help protect yourself and those you love”

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FILE – In this Wednesday, May 19, 2021 file photo, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses are prepared for members of the community 12 years and up, at a clinic held by Community of Hope, outside the Washington School for Girls in southeast Washington. The World Health Organization’s top vaccines expert says that immunizing children against the coronavirus “is not a high priority” given the extremely limited global supply of doses. During a social media session on Thursday, June 3 Dr. Kate O’Brien said that vaccinating children “is not a priority from a WHO perspective,” even as increasing numbers of rich countries authorize their COVID-19 shots for teenagers and children. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file)

CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Caddo Public Schools sent a message to district students and parents Monday pointing to the 7,592 new COVID-19 cases reported statewide since Friday and urging people to get vaccinated.

“Please get vaccinated to help protect yourself and those you love,” read the message sent via text and shared on the district’s social media, along with a link to vaccines.gov for information on where to find clinics, pharmacies, and other locations where vaccinations are available.

Classes start in Caddo Parish on August 23. District administrators are expected to present plans for reopening to the school board next week as coronavirus cases surge statewide and in Northwest Louisiana. Of the 500 new confirmed and probable cases reported in Northwest Louisiana since Friday, more than half (252) were in Caddo Parish, where a total of 28,505 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Caddo has risen to 770.

There are now 1,221 patients hospitalized with COVID statewide as of Sunday (the latest data available), up 65 since Friday. In Northwest Louisiana, hospitalizations rose by 17 to 119. Still, Louisiana Department of Health data as of Monday showed ICU beds are at 79% capacity in the region. Hospital beds are at 74 percent.

With 32.5 percent of its population vaccinated (just over 80,000 people out of a population of 248,000), Caddo has the highest vaccination rate in the region, but it remains below the statewide rate of about 37 percent.

Vaccine hesitancy and the rapid spread of the delta variant statewide of the virus helped push Louisiana to the top of the list among states with the highest number of new cases per capita last week, prompting Gov. John Bel Edward to update public health emergency orders as cases continue to surge.

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