COVID cases surging again in Louisiana due to Omicron variant; people flock to COVID testing sites soon after Christmas

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 9:53 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is surging in Louisiana, according to the state health department. And as a result, hospitalizations are increasing and more and more people are seeking COVID testing.

The line of vehicles stretched along Veterans Boulevard on Monday and it was not leading to a shopping mall for after Christmas sales. Instead, the coveted designation was Johnny Bright Playground on Cleary Avenue and Marion Street in Jefferson Parish.

Jodie Manale said she had been inching along in the line for a long time.

“I’ve been in line for two hours, I’m not happy about that,” said Manale.

Bridget Kelly was in another vehicle.

“I’m having a few symptoms. I work for Wal-Mart, so I’m around it all the time,” said Kelly.

Manale said she had recently been around others who contracted the virus.

“I feel okay, I’ve just been exposed to people who came down with COVID. I want to get tested to make sure I don’t spread it on anyone else,” said Manale.

The Louisiana Department of Health tweeted that 2,619 new covid cases had been reported in Louisiana since Sunday bringing the total of new cases over the four-day holiday weekend to 12, 164.

Dr. Jeffrey Elder is Medical Director for Emergency Management at LCMC Health, a non-profit which operates University Medical Center, Children’s Hospital and a number of other hospitals in the New Orleans area.

“We are seeing more positives by far in the community right now, obviously the demand for testing is up. The positivity rates are up,” said Elder.

According to LDH 449 people were hospitalized around the state on Sunday, a number that doubled in the last week.

“We are seeing more patients admitted to the hospital with COVID. We are just over 50 patients today in our hospitals that have COVID, that’s up from just a little under 20 about a week ago, so we’re obviously seeing more patients,” said Elder.

Children are not immune.

“At our Children’s Hospitals this past weekend, you know, yesterday roughly, you know about a quarter of all of the pediatric patients that presented to the three pediatric emergency departments that we have, were for COVID or COVID-like symptoms,” said Elder.

Hospitals are also concerned about their workers contracting the virus and that would have wide-ranging impacts.

“The other issue that hospitals are going to be dealing with across the country is, you know, our own staff may be becoming ill, testing positive for COVID, having mild symptoms and, of course that puts a greater strain on the entire symptom,” said Elder.

And LDH recommends everyone wear a mask in indoor public spaces and indoor private spaces when around people who are not a part of their immediate household. Additionally, the state encourages masking outdoors when social distancing is not possible and suggests people work remotely if it’s feasible.

“Masking is important for people out in the community, also just to protect yourself and those around you,” said Elder.

Even though there are breakthrough COVID infections among the vaccinated, LDH and local health care professionals stress that it is still important to get vaccinated and then when it is your time get the booster shot.

“The good news is, you know, vaccines are still extremely effective at keeping people out of the hospital, getting critically ill, applying oxygen or ending up in the ICU, or even dying from COVID,” said Elder.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.

Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.