COVID-19 positivity rates soar in Louisiana

Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - COVID-19 positivity rates soared this week in Louisiana. Every parish in our area is now in the double digits. St. Tammany spiked to 17.5 percent.

“That 17.5 percent positivity rate puts us at the highest of all the parishes in the greater New Orleans area. And, those numbers are indicative of, through December 30, just before the New Year’s weekend. So, that further concerns me, because this doesn’t even include the New Year’s holiday weekend,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper.

Jefferson Parish jumped to 16.4 percent.

“Everyday that we get a high, high COVID number means more issues for capacity in the next couple of weeks. So, while today I think we are okay and the hospitals are saying we are okay, with these high numbers today of positive cases, that’s the trouble spot for us in the weeks to come,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng.

In New Orleans, the positivity rate nearly doubled, increasing from 5.5 to 10.4 percent. Because of that, the mayor announced tighter restrictions will go into effect Friday morning at 6 a.m. Bars and restaurants will have to limit indoor capacity to 25 percent. Alex Fein’s family owns The Court of Two Sisters. He’s also the president of the French Quarter Business League. He says the news is frustrating.

“The case loads are going up and I understand the health data behind it and I understand we are in a pandemic, but it’s not going up because of us, it’s not going up because of the things we are doing, so, why do we need to be restricted anymore than we already have? And, the other frustrating thing is other parishes, regionally, have different levels of restrictions, different levels of expectations and other parishes are doing significantly better than us financially,” Fein said.

LSU Health Infectious Diseases Chief, Julio Figueroa,M.D., expects things to be better in the Spring as more and more people are vaccinated against the virus. But, until then, he says hospitals might have trouble finding beds for patients.

“Things will be better in the spring, perhaps if everything goes well, but for this patch between now and the end of January, it’s going to be very, very scary,” said Figueroa.

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