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Louisiana surpasses 1 million COVID cases since 2020: ‘another sobering milestone’

A Tulane University coronavirus test site.
Paula Burch-Celentano
Tulane University
A Tulane University coronavirus test site.

Louisiana reached a pandemic milestone on Tuesday, with the state health department reporting more than 1 million positive COVID-19 cases.

The total number of positive tests in the state since health officials began testing for the virus in March 2020 reached 1,025,748 on Tuesday, up by 29,125 cases from Friday’s case count. Tuesday’s data includes all COVID stats reported to the state since Friday, when the last daily report was released.

“Today, Louisiana reaches another sobering milestone, with our state officially reporting more than one million cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic in 2020,” a statement from Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “And we know that because cases are underreported, in reality many more people in Louisiana have had COVID at some point in the past 22 months.”

The test positivity rate since Friday is 31.25%. This data does not include the vast majority of at-home tests, which don’t typically get reported to state officials.

The state passed 1 million cases amid its fifth surge, driven by the omicron variant. LDH reported that since the beginning of 2022, Louisiana has routinely gained over 10,000 daily cases, and that 2,183 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 on Monday, the most hospitalizations since the delta surge, which saw hospitalizations peak at more than 3,000.

Health officials also confirmed Tuesday 58 additional deaths related to COVID-19.

LDH also reported 3,981 reinfections since Friday. Reinfections are not reported in the total case count, but officials said it will be soon on the LDH COVID-19 dashboard.

Nearly a quarter of all cases reported since Friday are among children between ages 5 and 17, an age group that also has the lowest rate of vaccinations in the state. Pediatric hospitalizations also have increased sharply, with more patients in hospitals than even in the delta surge, Edwards said last week during a press conference.

Officials have yet to see any signs that indicate a peak is near, a concerning factor to many state and public health leaders as Louisiana enters Carnival season.

Due to the significant spread of COVID-19, officials in New Orleans implemented a citywide mask mandate again alongside the city’s vaccine mandate. Both will likely stay in place through Mardi Gras.

Edwards, however, has not reinstated a statewide mask mandate. During Thursday’s press conference, he instead urged residents to mask up indoors and outdoors, get vaccinated and boosted and work from home if possible.

Aubry is a reporter, producer and operations assistant in Baton Rouge.
Katelyn Umholtz is the digital editor for WWNO and WRKF and is based out of New Orleans.