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COVID ‘breakthrough’ cases claim more than two dozen lives in Louisiana

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 8:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 9:08 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - COVID-19 positivity rates are up to double digits.

Some parishes and the state document more coronavirus Delta variant cases among those who have been vaccinated, but those cases are minuscule compared to the new variant cases among the unvaccinated.

State health officials say 59% of all new COVID-19 cases in Louisiana are the Delta variant, and they say it’s cause for concern.

“If you were going to be exposed to COVID tomorrow, odds are it would be the Delta variant. It’s more transmissible, it’s more dangerous, it makes people sicker, and it seems to be better at infecting kids as well,” said State Health Director Dr. Joseph Kanter.

But some vaccinated people have contracted the Delta variant, including Ralph Badeaux’s vaccinated daughter; it’s a so-called “breakthrough” case.

“She called me that night and said, ‘I got some bad news,’ and I’m waiting to hear the death of a relative, but she says, ‘I got COVID,’” said Badeaux.

He says his 44-year-old daughter was bedridden for three days, but some breakthrough cases in Louisiana have been fatal.

“There were approximately 27 deaths attributed to breakthrough cases from COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people, but that compares to more than 3,800 deaths among unvaccinated people since vaccines became available,” said Dr. Kanter.

The state health director says most of the serious breakthrough cases have occurred among people in their 70s, but it’s not an exclusive club.

“For most of the time, these breakthrough cases have mild symptoms or asymptomatic, but they are happening and people should be aware of that,” the doctor said.

In fact, even though his daughter and others did get the Delta variant after they got the vaccination, Badeaux says he’s glad she got the shot.

“She is great, but I think she’s ready to go back to work, but she’s in quarantine,” said Badeaux.

Positivity rates are up and are now approaching 13% in St. Charles Parish.

“We are concerned about breakthrough cases, but we are much more concerned about the overwhelming number of hospitalizations and death among unvaccinated people,” said Benjamin Springate, M.D., M.P.H. with LSU Health Sciences.

Health officials say it’s a good idea to get vaccinated, start wearing masks again, and social distance if you’re going to be around people who may be unvaccinated.

“The message is if you are not yet fully vaccinated and are around other people indoors, you really do need to be masking and distancing,” said Dr. Kanter.

Dr. Kanter says 95% of all new coronavirus cases continue to plague those who have not been vaccinated. And he says even in breakthrough cases, symptoms are less severe for those who have gotten their shots.

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