Louisiana is on track to set a record-high for the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized amid a rapid rise in the delta variant. On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards, who temporarily reinstated a statewide indoor mask mandate, said Louisiana is experiencing the worst surge in the U.S.
“Today, we reported 11,109 cases on 81,000 tests, we are up to 1,984 inpatient hospitalizations across the state of Louisiana for COVID, and today we also report 28 deaths,” Edwards said. “That brings our total to 11,026.”
He noted that on Tuesday, the state would report “more hospitalizations than at any point in the pandemic,” and that case growth per capita is the highest in the country.
“There are no signs on the horizon that things are about to flatten in terms of case growth and so forth and start coming down, so I hope the people across the state of Louisiana will let that sink in just a bit,” he said. “We are the worst in the country in terms of this COVID surge, and that is because of this delta variant, which is a game-changer, and the fact that quite frankly not enough people have been vaccinated in the state of Louisiana.”
The temporary mask mandate, which goes into effect Wednesday, applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. It will apply to all residents ages 5 and up.
Dr. Mark Klein, the physician in chief at the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans and a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said he is “as worried about our children today as I have ever been.”
Klein called the delta variant “every infectious disease specialists’ and epidemiologists’ worst nightmare.” He said hospitals, including pediatric centers, are being inundated with patients.
“At this point in time, to the best of my knowledge, every children’s facility in the state is absolutely full,” he said. “I know that at Children’s Hospital New Orleans we have not had an empty bed in any of our intensive care units for weeks. We have avoided going on some kind of diversion or drive-by status because of the responsibility we feel to take care of every child who needs us but COVID has put a serious a very serious strain on our ability to do that.”
Klein said the hospital is seeing as many as 20 patients admitted on any given day, up from previous highs seen earlier in the pandemic which was around 7. He said Louisiana’s low vaccination rate is leaving the state susceptible to “a truly devastating surge.”