BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana is ringing in the new year with record-breaking COVID-19 cases.
According to the Louisana Department of Health, the Omicron variant counts for nearly 100 percent of COVID-19 cases.
“Just about everybody in the state now either has just now had COVID, has it today, or knows someone who does,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.
State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said we have never seen COVID spread this much. Sixty-three of 64 parishes are now considered at high risk.
“If an area, a state, or a parish, has over 100 cases of COVID, per 100,000 residents per week, that’s enough to put them in the highest risk category. We have 10 times that,” said Kanter.
Finding a test is becoming more of a challenge. Kanter said the demand for testing is spiking, but people may be getting tested at the wrong time. He said tests should be taken three to five days after exposure to ensure a more accurate test result.
“If someone is looking for an antigen test, a take-home test and they can’t find it but they have symptoms, in the context that of the surge we’re in right now, they should just assume that they have COVID and isolate accordingly,” he said.
The Omicron variant makes you less sick, but it does spread fast, increasing hospitalization daily. Emergency room visits have increased by 17 percent statewide.
“When a significant number of your workforce is contracting COVID and has to be at home for some period of time, that’s an added burden,” said Kanter. “This surge came on very quickly. The hope and expectation is that it will subside very quickly.”
Governor Edwards is not looking to issue another mask mandate but said he supports businesses and schools that require a face mask.
According to Kanter, the state should receive more supplies of tests and COVID-19 pills in the coming weeks.
Edwards will discuss the state’s response to COVID-19 again on January 13th.