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Hospitalizations in NWLA surpass peak levels reached over summer


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Northwest Louisiana has surpassed peak levels reached in July, rising by 19 since Sunday to 312.

That is 13 more coronavirus hospitalizations than were reported in the region on July 23.

According to the latest LDH data, the region’s hospitals are at 74% capacity and more than 85% of the region’s ICU beds are occupied.

Statewide, hospitalizations are also approaching peak levels reached in July, rising by 93 since Sunday to 1,516. The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in Louisiana peaked at 1,600 on July 27. Hospitalizations are a key figure used in determining what restrictions on gatherings are needed. 

The peak over the summer came 11 days after Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded restrictions under the Phase 2 order in place at the time, including a statewide mask mandate. Those emergency orders have remained in place through extensions over the summer and into the fall, in spite of efforts to reverse them and undercut the governor’s power to issue them by some lawmakers and Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Restrictions were eased when the state entered Phase 3 in September, but Edwards announced a step back to a revised Phase 2 just before Thanksgiving, citing rising positivity and hospitalization rates amid what he called an “aggressive third surge of COVID-19 across all regions of Louisiana.”

The Louisiana Department of Health also reported 2,429 new COVID-19 cases statewide and 45 more deaths Tuesday, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed and probable cases reported in the state to 254,562 and deaths to 6,652.

Of the new cases reported Tuesday, LDH says 1,775 are confirmed and 654 are probable.

Also according to the LDH:

  • Because of the daily removal of newly identified duplicates and out of state cases, the new case increase may not match the difference between Tuesday’s and Monday’s total case count.
  • The collection dates for most of these cases (95.8%) fall between November 30 and December 7.
  • 96% of the cases reported to the state Tuesday were community spread.
  • 4% of the cases reported to the state Tuesday were in congregate settings.
  • Individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 account for 18% of these cases.
  • Since Monday, 32,084 new tests have been reported to the state, bringing the total number of tests to 3,760,929. Of the tests reported today, 27,933 were PCR tests and 4,151 were antigen tests.

If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.

Of the 375 new confirmed and probable cases reported in Northwest Louisiana since Monday, 142 were in Caddo Parish and 79 were in Bossier Parish. Both parishes have also reported one new death each. Natchitoches reported 84 new cases, Webster 25, Sabine 18, and Bienville 12. Red River also reported six new cases. Claiborne Parish did not report any new cases.

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