The Louisiana Department of Health warns that COVID-19 cases among people who are not yet fully vaccinated are surging, and all people in Louisiana, especially those who are not yet vaccinated, are at an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19 as the more contagious Delta variant continues to spread.
Louisiana is currently experiencing widespread increases in the spread of COVID-19. Since early May, 19,200 new COVID-19 cases have been reported among Louisiana residents, with 94% of these cases occurring among individuals who were not fully vaccinated. On July 13, LDH announced 9 additional COVID-19 deaths; all individuals were unvaccinated.
LDH reaffirms the following guidance for individuals in Louisiana:
- If you are not yet fully vaccinated you should mask and distance in public settings and particularly indoors, for your safety and for the safety of those around you.
- If you are fully vaccinated you have very good, but not absolute protection. Your risk, while relatively small, will increase as the amount of COVID-19 circulating in your community increases. Masking and distancing particularly when indoors will increase your safety should you desire extra protection.
- If you are at increased risk for complications of COVID-19 by virtue of advanced age or underlying medical condition or have a member of your household family unit who is, LDH strongly recommends you consider masking and distancing when indoors and/or in close proximity to others for added protection.
“The data are very clear,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer. “COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people in Louisiana are surging. COVID-19 hospitalizations, percent positivity and COVID-19 outbreaks are all on the rise. All people in Louisiana, especially those who are not yet vaccinated, should know they are now at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to the more transmissible Delta variant, and they should consider their personal risk and their family’s risk.”
COVID indicators continue to worsen:
- The number of new cases diagnosed each day has been increasing for the past 28 days and is now increasing in all nine regions of the state.
- The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout Louisiana has been increasing for the past 12 days, with nearly 200 additional hospitalized patients added during that time, as of today's reporting.
- The statewide average daily number of cases per 100,000 residents has increased 167% over the past 14 days.
- Statewide percent positivity of new COVID-19 tests conducted is now 6.3% and has been increasing for the past four weeks.
- During the past week, 35 new outbreaks and 200 new outbreak-associated cases have been identified. This represents a 169% increase in the number of reported outbreaks and a 96% increase in the number of outbreak-associated cases compared to the previous week. The settings with the greatest outbreak increases included camps, child day cares, religious services and restaurants. In addition to the widespread circulation of the more transmissible Delta variant, insufficient masking and distancing, especially among unvaccinated individuals, are also contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in these settings.
Vaccination remains the single best way of protecting yourself, your family and your community against COVID-19. However, while the protection provided by each of the three currently available COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) is very good against COVID-19 and the variants currently spreading in Louisiana, the protection is not absolute. LDH is aware of a small number of “breakthrough cases,” or individuals who contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 is spread primarily by breathing, talking, coughing, laughing and singing. The virus is more likely to spread in indoor settings where it is difficult to distance. Masking and distancing will increase one’s safety.
COVID-19 vaccines remain free and widely available throughout Louisiana. They are highly effective at reducing (but not eliminating) your chance of contracting COVID-19, of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19, and of passing COVID-19 on to someone else. They are also exceedingly safe. LDH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 12 years of age and older. If you have specific questions or concerns it is always recommended to speak to your physician or primary care provider.
To find available vaccines near you, make a vaccine appointment, arrange vaccination for a homebound individual, or to have general questions answered please call the Louisiana Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774.