Governor John Bel Edwards held a media briefing on Friday to give an update on Louisiana's response to COVID-19 and to discuss the Omicron variant of the virus
"Louisiana has been doing much better and continues today to do very well in terms of our baseline numbers with respect to COVID as it relates to percent positivity, the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations and so forth," said Edwards.
The Governor noted that while Louisiana is on the backside of the latest Delta variant surge, other states are currently experiencing surges.
"We're working to prepare for one because we know that it's the right thing to do," Edwards said about possible surges due to the new Omicron variant.
The World Health Organization has deemed the Omicron variant as a variant of concern. Edwards said that the Omicron variant has not been detected in the state, but that it does not mean that it isn't here.
Five states, New York, Hawaii, Colorado, California and Minnesota, have already detected cases of the Omicron variant.
"We are trying very hard through surveillance measures and testing and sequencing to detect whether the variant is here in Louisiana," said Edwards. "We've not detected one, but as soon as we do, if we do, we will make sure that the people of Louisiana know as much about that as possible."
LDH has established a network of laboratories to do genomic sequencing on positive COVID cases to determine whether the virus is the omicron variant or other variants.
Edwards says that the state currently has the capacity to genetically sequence 100 percent of all of the positive PCR tests that happen across the state.
Virtually 100 percent of the state's cases are currently attributable to the Delta variant, according to Edwards.
During his press conference, the governor spoke about the importance of getting vaccinated and receiving a booster when eligible.
"That is the way out of this pandemic with the least cases, the least sickness, the least hospitalizations and deaths."
Around 49 percent of the Louisiana population is fully vaccinated. Edwards said that number is not high enough.
"We've got to get those numbers up," he said.
Edwards announced earlier this week that the Shot at $100 campaign would be extended through the end of the year.
See the full press conference below:
To see the latest data on COVID-19 in the state, visit ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus.
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