Covid-19 surge hits New Orleans: A new subvariant on the rise

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 8:00 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Health officials have noted a concerning rise in COVID-19 cases in the city.

“Lately, we’ve been seeing an increase in our positive Covid rates,” says Teshawn Ash-House.

Healthcare officials started tracking an uptick in Covid-19 cases in early June. At Urgent Care Eleven, more people are coming in to test, and more tests are positive.

“I would say we’re seeing about one and four tests we’re doing are coming back positive,” says Ash-House.

“We’re seeing a little bit of a surge in cases basically,” says Fred Lopez, M.D.

Data from the CDC corroborate this surge. On June 28, Louisiana reported a positivity rate of 6%. A little over a month later, on August 2, the rate soared to 19%.

Yet, a silver lining comes from Dr. Fred Lopez from LSU Health: most of these cases aren’t severe. Most patients are experiencing respiratory symptoms and fever typical of COVID-19.


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Respiratory illnesses, by in large, are sometimes complicated by fever and other things that are historically associated with Covid-19 infections. What’s different is a current subvariant of Omicron, known as EG 5.1.

He says EG 5.1 is now our community’s most prevalent strain of Covid.

“So, it’s another one of these subvariants that is more transmissible and doesn’t appear to cause more severe illness,” says Dr. Lopez.

Ochsner Health officials tell FOX 8 there’s an increase in hospitalizations there related to Covid-19. Over the past week, doctors noted a 54 percent increase in hospitalized patients with Covid, but they say most of those patients are being treated for other conditions.

Healthcare professionals believe a lot of people simply dropped their guard.

“There’s a lack of social distancing right now and just thinking that Covid isn’t a big deal right now, so we’re seeing less people wearing a mask. We’re seeing more and more people traveling right now so a lot of people coming back from trips feel like they have a cold, but they are spreading Covid,” says Ash-House.

According to the guidelines, people who test positive should still isolate themselves for at least five days. Dr. Lopez says everyone should remain vigilant, especially those with pre-existing conditions.

“I would be concerned, and I would really do what I could to mitigate my chances of getting the infection,” says Dr. Lopez.

Doctors says besides taking preventative measures, the best thing you can do is get vaccinated.

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