Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the state's response to COVID-19.
The briefing was held at 10:30 am in Baton Rouge.
In his briefing Edwards discussed the increase in the number of cases in the state. On January 12, Louisiana broke the single-day record for coronavirus cases with 17,592 reported cases. The last record was set on January 7, 2022, when the state reported 14,802 cases in a single day.
On Thursday, the state also eclipsed the 2021 record of hospitalizations. There are now 2,081 individuals hospitalized with COVID; 129 are on mechanical ventilators.
11 new deaths were also reported on Thursday.
See the latest COVID numbers, here.
The increase in cases is largely related to the Omicron variant. In his last press conference, Edwards noted that Omicron has had a direct impact on the state and has rapidly taken over as the dominant variant.
Edwards said that Omicron is less virulent but there are many people who are severely sick and in hospitals. 92 children were admitted to the hospital during the week of January 2 which Edwards said is higher than the number of children admitted during Delta's peak in 2021.
According to Dr. Joseph Kanter, Omicron accounts for 95 to 100 percent of cases reported in Louisiana.
"We are still very much in this omicron surge," he said.
The state is reportedly testing more individuals for COVID than ever. Kanter said that over 600,000 residents have been tested in the month of January.
"The volume of testing is considerably more than we have ever done at any point prior in this pandemic," Kanter said.
Kanter added the number of people getting sick with COVID is still creating a very large burden on hospitals and that three out of every four patients in hospitals with COVID are unvaccinated.
"You still can get sick and we're thankful that the average is that less people are getting sick with Omicron, but that's just an average, it doesn't guarantee that you won't that sick. That chance is still there," he said. "The numbers still add up."
The state has also started reporting the number of COVID reinfections in the state on their online dashboard. According to Kanter, there have been 35,819 reinfections overall. That number has not been added to the total case count, but Kanter says reinfections will be included into the daily totals next week.
"Fully vaccinated plus boosted is essential to have protection from Omicron. Having two doses is not insignificant but you get significantly more protection when you get boosted," said Kanter when discussing reinfection rates.
Edwards says that he is expecting to extend the public health emergency but does not believe that anything will change in regards to current recommendations. Another press conference will be held on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
"I'm encouraging everyone to do the single most important thing you can do, and that is to get vaccinated," said Edwards.
Since Friday, several Acadiana schools have transitioned back to virtual learning due to the increase in COVID cases among students and staff.
To see a list of schools that have transitioned to virtual learning and when they will return to in-person instruction, click here.
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