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Louisiana added more than 11,000 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, with the number of hospitalizations due to the disease statewide now approaching 2,000.

Those number come hours before Gov. John Bel Edwards is scheduled to make an announcement on a possible statewide mask mandate at his 2:30 p.m. press conference this afternoon. At his briefing on Friday, he said his staff had received the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant and would be reviewing it over the weekend.

The Monday COVID-19 update from the Louisiana Department of Health showed a continued climb in the number of hospitalizations in the state, adding another 241 cases.

According to the LDH statistics, there were 11,109 new COVID-19 cases reported to the state between Friday and Monday. The daily update showed 1,984 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, with 213 of those patients on ventilators, an increase of 46.

There were also an additional 27 deaths over the weekend from the disease, bringing the state's total to 11,026

Region 4, which encompasses Acadiana, continues to post high numbers as well. Hospitalizations as of Sunday were at 266, the highest they have been since Aug. 1 of last year, near the peak of the second COVID-19 spike. That's an increase of 49 more patients since Friday. That is also up from 160 only a week prior as the graph continues to rocket off the graph. Of those cases, 31 are on ventilators, the highest since Jan. 1 and an increase of 10 from Friday.

Region 4’s ICU beds are still near capacity, although down slightly from last week according to the latest state data. As of Sunday, there were 11 of the 148 beds across the region available, for an occupancy rate of 94.3 percent. The overall hospital bed occupancy was also down slightly at 74.3 percent, with 432 of 1,682 beds available.

In a briefing Friday, Ochsner Health System representatives said the group currently has 643 COVID-19 patients in its facilities across Louisiana and Mississippi — 100 of those added in the previous two days. That represents a 17 percent increase in COVID-19 patients since Wednesday. According to an Ochsner spokeswoman, 90 percent of those patients were unvaccinated.

Statewide, 90 percent of new infections, 85 percent of deaths between July 15 and 21 and 90 percent of current hospitalizations were among unvaccinated patients.

Across the Teche Area, the same trends are in motion with regard to testing positivity. In Iberia Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose by four full points in a week — from 11.6 percent on July 14 to 15.6 percent on July 21. That comes after a three-point rise in the previous week. 

St. Mary Parish saw a 3.1 percent increase, from 13.1 percent to 16.2 percent. In St. Martin Parish, the seven-day average positivity rose 5.4 points over the same period, from 15.1 to 20.5 percent.


Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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