COVID-19 LOUISIANA

BATON ROUGE, La. - The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Louisiana has shot up by more than 400 over the past seven days, the largest weekly increase since the first months of the pandemic.

An increase of 69 hospitalized patients on Wednesday brought the total number of patients statewide to 914, according to data released at noon on Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Health. That's the largest number of COVID-positive patients in hospital beds since Feb. 12, late in the state's third wave of the coronavirus.

All told, hospitalizations have nearly doubled in just a week, according to the Department of Health's data.

The growing number of hospitalizations has worried health care providers and government officials as a surge of new cases has spread across Louisiana. This fourth wave is fueled by the more virulent Delta variant of the disease and the state's relatively low vaccination rate. Only a bit more than a third of Louisiana residents had completed their vaccination series by Thursday, according to Department of Health data.

Cases also continue to grow exponentially in the state. Though the 2,041 new confirmed cases reported on Thursday are lower than the near-record-setting 3,264 reported on Wednesday, they still pushed this week's total to heights not seen for months.

The state has reported 11,000 cases over the past seven days, a weekly total it has not seen since the beginning of February. The average daily number of cases is now nearly 7 times higher than it was just a month ago, when the state was still in a months-long lull in case growth.

There are now a total of 426,427 confirmed coronavirus cases and 83,289 total "probable" coronavirus cases in Louisiana, according to the agency's dashboard.

In Louisiana, 30,290 more doses of COVID vaccines have been administered, according to a noon update from the Louisiana Department of Health.

There are 1,696,163 people who are fully vaccinated and 1,871,572 people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

The total number of administered doses is now 3,437,389. Most of those shots are part of the two-dose regimen recommended for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which is why the total number of people who have received at least one dose is lower than the total number of doses.

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