BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The number of patients hospitalized in Louisiana with COVID-19 continued Friday to climb to new heights, as the state grapples with its worst surge of the coronavirus illness since the start of the pandemic.
For the fourth day, the state set new coronavirus hospitalization records. The state Department of Health reported 2,421 people were in hospitals around the state with COVID-19, an increase of 71 people from the day before and more than eight times the number hospitalized at the start of July.
Louisiana is confirming thousands of new coronavirus cases each day, driven by the highly contagious delta variant and the large number of people who remain unvaccinated around the state. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Louisiana has the highest number of new cases per capita across the country over the last week.
The state also is among the bottom five for its vaccination rates, though it’s started to see sizable increases in the number of people newly seeking their first shots as the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers worsen and health care leaders issue dire warnings about overwhelmed hospitals.
Gov. John Bel Edwards will provide an update Friday afternoon on the latest coronavirus surge. The Democratic governor reissued a statewide mask mandate this week.