BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – From the environmental impacts of Mardi Gras to health guidelines, medical professionals say the capital region has a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus this month.

For major events like Mardi Gras, Superbowl, and Valentine’s Day, many people are expected to host large gatherings. Medical professionals say this could potentially lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says East Baton Rouge Parish is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. With an increase of 120 to 150 cases per 100,000 people.

“COVID has not gone away. I think that people have become more relaxed,” said Glennis Gray, Office of Public Health Deputy Assistant.

Gray says people from across the country and around the world are expected to travel to the state during the month of February.

“When COVID hit Louisiana, it was during the Mardi Gras season. And so, you know, I can’t predict that but we do want to ensure that people remain vigilant,” said Gray.

Gray says things could quickly take a turn for the worse if certain precautions aren’t taken.

“If you’re sick please make sure you stay home because we don’t want to carry any other transmissions to people,” said Gray.

The Louisiana Department of Health encourages people to stay up to date on their vaccinations. This includes getting a booster shot if you haven’t already.

The Louisiana Department of Health offers free at-home testing kits, about eight per month. For a list of in-person testing and vaccination sites in the capital region, visit the LDH website.

To learn more about vaccines visit Visit to receive a free COVID-19 test.