LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Acadiana has reached a record amount of COVD-19 patients. New numbers released Friday by the Louisiana Department of Health show 304 coronavirus hospitalizations in the eight parish region. The only other time that many other patients were in the area was on July 22 of 2020.
Region Four Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski says the Delta variant is attacking our population like no strain before it.
“This Delta variant is much more contagious. We’re seeing it spread rapidly, and we’re seeing younger individuals being admitted to the hospital,” she said.
The Delta variant is skewing the age of COVID patients younger. More people ages 59 and younger have positive coronavirus cases now than ever, but those 60 and older have not broken records in the fourth surge.
According to Dr. Stefanski, “We have a high vaccination rate in younger individuals and what we’ve seen is that the new cases in COVID have continued to remain low in older individuals.”
The Louisiana Department of Health coronavirus database shows more people vaccinated than unvaccinated above the age of 60, but that percentage practically reverses at younger ages. Plus, 90% of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.
When asked about the other 10% Dr. Stefanski said, “Those individuals in the hospital with these vaccine breakthrough cases are people who are frail or have poor immune systems which is another reason to be vaccinated. If you’ve got someone with those underlying health problems, older, even if they are vaccinated, they need to be surrounded with people who are vaccinated.”
Stefanski says with one out of every five COVID tests returning positive, cases are increasing across all ages. As the number of available ICU beds shrinks, the likelihood of additional deaths grows.
“We’re watching this surge of cases increase, and it gives us all a lot of concern, so I do think that with the mask mandate and vaccinations, we’re hopeful that that is going to turn things around pretty quickly,” Dr. Stefanski concluded.
One silver lining of the surge is more people are asking for the vaccine according to Dr. Stefanski. However, becoming fully vaccinated takes two weeks after your final dose, so doctors encourage taking the immediate measure of masking.