Coronavirus COVID-19 computer generated image. (Getty Images)
Louisiana health officials on Wednesday confirmed two additional pediatric deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s total COVID-19 death toll to 12,582.
One death was of a child between 0 and 4 years old, and the other was of a child between 12 and 17, according to a Louisiana Department of Health press release. Health officials are not releasing any further information on the two cases.
So far during this fourth surge of COVID-19, which began mid-July with the emergence of the Delta variant, the state has recorded five pediatric deaths. A total of 13 children younger than 18 have died from the coronavirus in Louisiana.
Just last week, the virus claimed an infant under the age of 1 and a 14-year-old, both in Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards called the deaths “heart-wrenching” and said children are getting sicker than they were in previous surges.
“Any life lost to COVID-19 is a tragedy, but the loss of a child is profoundly heartbreaking. Just a week ago today, our hearts were heavy with the loss of a young child, and today we feel the loss doubly with the deaths of two more,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “To best protect our young children who are not eligible to get the vaccine, as well as ourselves and our loved ones, we can do two simple things: get the vaccine and wear a mask.”
Everyone age 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. The FDA has fully authorized Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older. The Pfizer vaccine for those between 12 and 15 remains under emergency use authorization. Health officials urge parents to confirm with their vaccine provider that their child is under 18 to ensure the Pfizer vaccine is available before making an appointment.
The state restarted its COVID-19 data reporting on Wednesday after Hurricane Ida forced health officials to pause due to the storm’s catastrophic damage to Southeast Louisiana.
In part of his news conference on storm recovery efforts, Gov. John Bel Edwards reported 12,380 new COVID-19 cases but said the number is likely much higher.
“With many testing sites down, we know that the number is much higher than that,” Edwards said.
Wednesday also brought 223 new deaths and 2,447 people hospitalized with the virus.
The unvaccinated account for 90% of all cases and 81% of all deaths for the period of Aug. 12 to Aug. 18, as well as 91% of current COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the Health Department.
The cumulative positivity rate for the latest available 7-day period, Aug. 5 to Aug. 11, was 15.5%. Cameron Parish’s positivity rate remains highest in the state at 26.4% but has improved since the previous period of 31.4%.
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