Hospitalizations double in Shreveport-Bossier as omicron drives surge

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Hospitalizations continue to rise in Shreveport-Bossier, tracking right along with the statewide surge in cases and hospitalizations reported by the Louisiana Department of Health over the weekend.

Doctors at Oshner LSU Health and Willis Knighton Health System have seen an increase in patients, testing, and vaccinations.

“We are seeing a significant increase in hospitalizations,” Willis-Knighton pediatric infectious disease expert Dr. Joseph A. Bocchini said Monday. “On the 20th, we had 12 patients in the hospital with COVID infection. As of this morning, it’s 30.”

On Tuesday, the number of hospitalizations rose by another 16 to a total of 78 in Region 7 hospitals.

“So part of what we are dealing with is kind of a numbers game,” explained Oshner LSU Health pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. John A. Vanchiere. “If the hospitalization rate because of a particular virus is ten percent and only 10 people have the virus, then one person will be hospitalized. But if the rate is lower and five percent is hospitalized but 100 people have the virus, that means five people are hospitalized.”

Both doctors say one single infected person can spread the virus to multiple people, including among those who are fully vaccinated.

“It is not a surprise that we are seeing breakthrough infections as we have with prior variants, and again related to the amount of virus that is produced in a person who is infected makes it more transmissible,” Dr. Vanchiere said.

Dr. Bocchini says a little less than a third of the patients currently hospitalized at Willis Knighton are in the intensive care unit.

Statewide, in the most recent data from the Louisiana department of health, 85% of people are hospitalized and 82% of deaths are in unvaccinated people.

“It tells you that there is a widespread activity of the virus in our community,” said Bocchini, Jr., MD.

Doctors and public health officials encourage people to stay home if they are not feeling well, wear a mask, and get vaccinated or get boosted.

State health officials are also urging Louisianians to take safety precautions ahead of New Year’s Eve on Friday by recommending COVID-19 testing for any patients who are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Find testing information here.

For a list of locations, click here.

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