BATON ROUGE   — The Louisiana Department of Health announces that 449 people in Louisiana are hospitalized with COVID-19 – a figure that has doubled in the last week. The last time we reported this many COVID-19 hospitalizations was mid-October, as we came down from our third and then-worst COVID-19 surge. Eighty percent of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated.

A total of 9,545 new COVID-19 cases out of 59,139 new tests have been reported to the state since December 23. The testing data do not include results from at-home tests. The Louisiana Department of Health will resume updating the COVID-19 dashboard on Monday, December 27.

Another 1,231 people in Louisiana have been reinfected with COVID-19 in the same time frame. LDH does not include reinfections on its dashboard. Information is still emerging, but Omicron includes multiple mutations across the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Emerging data show this new variant is more transmissible than previous strains and that Omicron may carry an increased risk of reinfection compared to other variants of concern.

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. The Omicron surge further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.

In light of this rapidly evolving situation and because we know families may be traveling and gathering ahead of New Year’s Eve, LDH is urging everyone to follow public health guidance to stay safe:

To reduce transmission, regardless of vaccination status, mask in all indoor public spaces; mask in all indoor private spaces with people who are not in your immediate household; and mask outdoors when not able to social distance. Masks are effective in protecting against infection for all of the currently circulating variants. 

Work remotely if feasible.

• Limit exposure to individuals outside your everyday household.

• Get tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling or gathering with individuals outside your everyday household. LDH recommends testing one to two days before travel and three to five days after travel.

If you have questions about vaccines, you can speak to a medical professional and learn about vaccination sites near you by calling Louisiana’s vaccine hotline at 855-453-0774. For a list of locations near you, visit https://ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine or text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish.

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