BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD ) — State health leaders are calling the Omicron surge an “explosion” of COVID-19. Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the public on Thursday with the latest on the pandemic in Louisiana.

The governor said the state continues to set new records for new COVID cases each week and models are still not showing a peak in sight just yet. He is urging people to temporarily implement mitigation efforts such as masking around people outside the household and to avoid crowded spaces where social distancing can’t happen.

“If you haven’t had COVID, you really want to do everything you can not to,” State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said.

The governor said everyone wants to celebrate Mardi Gras and Carnival season, but actions taken now will determine how those events will be able to play out.

Last week people ages 18-29 were at the top of the list for the rate of new cases. This week, children under 18 are launching to the top. Ninety-two children in the state have been admitted to the hospital with COVID so far this year.

“We have more children hospitalized today than we did at the height of the Delta peak,” Gov. Edwards said.

Dr. Kanter said there is more testing going on now than there ever has and believes there are more positive cases than reported due to at-home testing.

“It might be tempting to say on one hand we have so many cases because we’re doing so much testing but when you have a percent positivity as high as 28.6% you are still undercounting,” Dr. Kanter said.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is reporting over 35,000 people have been re-infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Most of those re-infections have been in recent weeks. The LDH dashboard will begin to track re-infection cases each week.

Gov. Edwards said he will extend the public health emergency that was set to expire next week. If hospitalization numbers begin to threaten hospitals’ ability to provide care, the mask mandate is a possibility.