SHREVEPORT, La. - Those most likely to be positive for COVID-19 are not over 60 years old; they're under 40.
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) shows about 20,000 people between the ages of 18 to 39 have tested positive for the virus. Those older than 60 are still most likely to die from complications due to COVID-19.
As of noon Monday about 16,000 people 60 and older have the virus. Dr. Martha Whyte, LDH regional director, blames that on not following the guidelines.
"They're not social distancing; they're not wearing masks; they're not following any recommendations. And they feel like that even if they get this they won't get sick," said Whyte.
Whyte said younger people are getting sick and driving up the hospitalization rate. While they're not in ICU, the patients "are sick enough to be hospitalized," she added.
There's also an increase in the number of positive COVID cases in Region 7.
"We're having in double digits again, high double, mid to high double digits. And that's very concerning for Caddo. Bossier numbers are high, you know, just the other day they have one of their highest numbers they've had," said Whyte.
Whyte said her phone is ringing off the hook again. Still, she wants Region 7 residents to report when they see businesses that are not following the guidelines.
"We do know that there are restaurants that are not social distancing. If people see that, if you're aware of a place, restaurant, or a bar that's not requiring social distancing, then you need to report it to public health, because we will have our sanitarians check on them. If that's true, we'll have the state fire marshal and even perhaps law enforcement to go and speak with them to make sure that they're aware that they're not meeting the governor's mandate," said Whyte.
Whyte said that also goes for people in in any forward-facing public jobs like grocery stores who are not wearing masks.
"The people working in Walmart, the people working in restaurants are supposed to be wearing masks to protect the public," said Whyte.
That's not the only offender.
"We have a lot of people having parties, large parties. We have a lot of people having large weddings. You know, I'm not sure that the governor is going to go back to back a phase, but you may see some changes in the loud enough size of gatherings," Whyte said.
In a related matter, overall hospitalizations have seen a slight increase with patients who test positive for COVID-19. Louisiana saw its record high in late-April with 1,991 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Dr. Mike Sewell, Chief of hospital medicine at Oschner LSU Health Shreveport, said the state is seeing fewer patients than before being hospitalized for COVID-19. However, should the state see a spike hospitals will be prepared.
“We are in good condition. We got beds dedicated for COVID. So, if we do have a spike, we will be able to handle that. But right now we aren’t seeing a spike than some other places around the country,” said Sewell.
Currently, the ICU capacity is at 69% for the Shreveport area with 123 beds available, while the New Orleans ICU capacity is at 58% with 236 beds available.
Gov. John Bel Edwards pleaded with younger people last week to take this virus more seriously.
Hospitals have seen an increase in hospitalizations of people under 30. Less than 11,000 people under the age of 30 have tested positive of COVID-19.
With the increase of COVID-19 cases, Edwards has extended phase 2 of reopening the state until late July.