Omicron variant starts beginning of the fifth COVID surge, Governor Edwards says

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) Governor John Bel Edwards says we’re now in the beginning of the fifth COVID-19 surge in Louisiana.

He says the Omicron variant is rapidly driving up the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“These alarming increases are due to the continued, rapid spread of the Omicron variant,” Governor Edwards said.

He says in the last two days, over 21,000 people tested positive for COVID and says this is the most cases ever added in a 24-hour period in the entire pandemic.

The Omicron variant is also causing record-highs for hospitalizations.

On December 16, 297 people were battling COVID-19 in hospitals. In only two weeks, that number has jumped to 762. That’s more than a 268% increase.

The governor says most of those in the hospital are unvaccinated.

“I’m asking everyone to take this seriously and do what you can to help us navigate through what is going to be a very difficult several weeks, at least through the month of January,” he said.

The governor says people should think about staying in to celebrate the new year.

“The Department of Health here in Louisiana and I are urging you to celebrate from home with members of your everyday household because that’s how much COVID-19 there is out there right now and how highly transmissible it is and how serious the situation is,” he added.

He warns that the Omicron surge could be worst than the surge caused by the Delta variant.

“While I hope and pray that 2022 is a much better year for each of you individually, for our families, for our state, for our country, January is going to be very, very challenging, and there’s just no doubt about that right now,” he said.

Governor Edwards says he is not re-instating the mask mandate, though encourages people to wear a mask regardless.

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