The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on Aug. 10, 2021 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Louisiana set a new single-day record with 14,077 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday, and state health officials said they have seen no signs that the virus is slowing down.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the record-breaking case count at an afternoon press conference but stopped short of implementing any mitigation measures — such as the face mask mandate or indoor capacity restrictions — that have ended previous COVID-19 surges.
The previous record for new daily infections was 12,467, set Dec. 30, 2021.
State health officer Dr. Joe Kanter said the omicron variant has proven to be two to three times as transmissible as previous coronavirus strains. Louisiana’s rate of COVID-19 tests that yield positive results has averaged 27.1% over the past seven days.
Although the omicron variant is more transmissible than previous strains, it so far appears to be less virulent, with milder health impacts and fewer hospitalizations, the governor said.
During previous surges, the statewide hospitalization number was the primary factor driving Edwards’ emergency mitigation orders. Hospitalizations for the current surge have remained relatively low compared with delta, with 1,412 reported Thursday. However, that number has been on an upward trajectory since mid-December, and health officials don’t know when it will peak.
“We have not seen any sign at all that it’s slowing,” Kanter said.
Kanter asked the public to be cognizant of not burdening hospitals with non-emergencies and mild COVID-19 symptoms: “If all you need is a test, please don’t go to the ER.”
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.