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Louisiana’s COVID-positive hospitalizations surpass peak of summer surge

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 8:19 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:55 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference Thursday to address Louisiana’s rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The governor explained that Louisiana’s COVID-positive hospitalizations have surpassed the height of the summer surge. Statewide hospitalizations rose to 1,602 on Dec. 16, according to data released in the state’s Dec. 17 COVID-19 dashboard update. The summer surge peaked at 1,600 on July 27. The all-time high for Louisiana was 1,991 on April 12. Edwards added that there is a possibility another surge will come after Christmas.

“You cannot test your way into a safe Christmas holiday,” he stressed.

The entire state has been placed in the high-risk category. The modified Phase 2 restrictions are set to expire next week. Governor Edwards said he does not anticipate reducing any restrictions, but will hold a press conference to discuss what he plans to do next.

Between 125,000 and 135,000 frontline healthcare personnel will be the first people in the state to receive the vaccine, Gov. Edwards said. Doctors, nurses, as well as hospital food service workers and custodial staff, will be included in that group.

Edwards says the state hopes to vaccinate 160,000 people in the first priority group comprised of people who work in hospitals and nursing homes, by the end of December. There are around 200,000 to 215,000 people who make up that first group.

A second COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the biotechnology company Moderna, which will first be distributed to the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities, was endorsed by a U.S. advisory panel on Thursday and is expected to get the green light from the Food and Drug Administration soon.

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