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La. reports 18th pediatric death due to COVID; health officials warn we aren’t out of the woods yet

Louisiana surpasses 14,000 COVID deaths
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 8:52 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Health reported another child’s death due to COVID-19 on Monday as the state surpasses over 14,000 total COVID deaths.

The child, between the ages of 12 and 17, was the eighteenth pediatric death since the pandemic began.

LDH reported 39 new deaths from the virus over the weekend.

For many, COVID has taken a back seat as they deal with the havoc Ida has brought into their lives.

“I’m still thinking about it and we still take the precautions we need,” Megan Mercadel said. “With her [daughter] going to school, I still make sure she wears her mask in school and washes her hands.”

Many parents like Mercadel have a daily reminder.

“I’m anxiously awaiting when the Pfizer vaccine will be made available to kids as young as five, and we think that’s coming probably within a month or so,” Dr. Joseph Kanter said. “Once that does, it’ll give families the ability to protect themselves protect their kids. Until it does, kids need to rely on the adults around them.”

“I’m leaning towards it,” Mercadel said. “I’m vaccinated so, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I guess I would just wait and see what happens.”

The child death LDH reported Monday was the ninth since the Delta surge began.

“I don’t want people to get a false sense of security,” Kanter said. “Kids usually do very well ,there’s no question about that, but not absolutely. It still hits families and some of the kids who have died with COVID had serious underlying conditions but not all. We’ve had healthy kids die too.”

Dr. Kanter says vaccinations did spike along with the peak of the surge, but they’ve since dropped off. He’s not happy with where we stand.

“Until we get our vaccination rate higher, we’re going to be vulnerable for another surge like this in the future,” Kanter said.

Since Friday, there’s been 1,700 new infections. A quarter of them, below the age of 18.

It’s down, however, along with the number of hospitalized covid cases that peaked at over 3,000. Now, just 715 patients in hospitals across the state.

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Kanter says it’s still three to four times higher than July, before the Delta surge.

“Even though we’re going in the right direction, that’s better than it was a couple weeks ago, because we peaked so very high, we have a long ways to go until we get back down,” Kanter said. “We’re not there yet and the risk right now still still high.”

Kanter says most Parishes are still at the highest risk for community spread.

“The death count from Ida is at 30, which is tragic, that said, we’ve reported out an additional 1,500 COVID deaths since it made landfall,” Kanter said. “It’s [COVID] every bit as much a risk, in fact, by the numbers, it’s much riskier, it’s just less visible.”

The Governor recently extended the mask mandate. Kanter does have hope we can get to the levels where we won’t need masks, but he wants to see us back to pre-surge levels first.

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