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This state is experiencing the ‘darkest days of the pandemic’

In Louisiana, the ‘darkest days of the pandemic’ have arrived, at least at this hospital

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The Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans.

The Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans is Feb. 13, 2006. Three New Orleans music venues are going to require proof of coronavirus vaccination or a negative test to get in the club.

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Hospitalizations from coronavirus infections continue to rise throughout the United States. And Louisiana might be suffering the brunt of the new delta wave right now.

What’s happening in Louisiana with COVID-19?

Per CNN, Louisiana’s biggest hospital is nearing its capacity limit because of the spread of COVID-19, as 23 people were waiting for space to open up in the intensive care unit on Tuesday.

  • “You have people with chest pain sitting in an ER right now while their families sit in the waiting room, and they are wringing their hands, and they are calling everybody they know,”  said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, according to CNN.

Two weeks ago, the hospital had 36 patients in the ICU due to COVID-19. Now, that number has ballooned to 155, according to CNN.

  • “No one diagnosis should take up one quarter of your hospital,” O’Neal said. “We no longer think we’re giving adequate care to anybody, because these are the darkest days of the pandemic.” 

Why is Louisiana surging?

Louisiana has one of the lowest rates for vaccinations across the country, which has led to the spread of the delta variant, The Associated Press reports.

  • Per WAFB-TV, the state has seen a series of cases for the unvaccinated.
  • In fact, 90% of all COVID-19 cases documented from July 15 to July 21 — which has led to the recent hospitalizations — were from those who were not fully vaccinated, WAFB-TV reports.

New mask mandate for Louisiana

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards added a new statewide indoor mask mandate Monday, according to WAFB-TV.

  • The new mandate will expire on Sept. 1, 2021.
  • It could be extended if COVID-19 cases continue to climb within the state.

Edwards said the recent surge has not shown signs of slowing down, according to The Associated Press.

  • “This is bad. And it’s not this bad anywhere else in the country today,” Edwards said. “This is having an adverse impact on people’s lives today. And the least we can do is put a mask on. It is not an onerous burden.”
  • “This is obviously not something I wanted to do,” Edwards said. “But Louisiana is not in the place where we want it to be or need it to be.”