Louisiana hit the biggest single-day increase of Covid-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic's start, health officials and the governor said this week.
As of Tuesday, 1,390 people were in the hospital with the coronavirus, an increase of 169 since Monday. The state Department of Health said it was the largest single-day increase since March of last year.
During that same time period, the state reported nearly 6,800 new cases, the second-highest single-day case count since Jan. 6, 2021.
"To see this current rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations is becoming increasingly scary," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.
According to the governor, roughly 90 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Edwards urged residents to get the shots.
"As I said recently, this surge is on us, & that means it is up to each of us to do our part to bring it to an end. It's within our power," he posted. "Getting vaccinated is the best way to stay safe & healthy during this pandemic."
Edwards said he would be recommending that everyone, including people who are vaccinated, wear masks while indoors when social distancing is not possible.
"For anyone asking the question when will this end, the answer is simple: when we decide to do what it takes to end it. The most impactful tools to make that happen are free & widely available- the three safe & effective vaccines," he wrote on Twitter. "I am pleading with everyone who is not vaccinated & is of age to make the decision today to get vaccinated."
Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 36 percent of the population fully vaccinated. State data shows that one of the highest unvaccinated age groups is 18 to 29.
The low vaccination rate along with the spike in new cases led the White House to designate Lousiana as a "state of concern." Joseph Kanter, the state's health officer, said the surge - most likely due to the highly transmissible delta variant - is "very dangerous."
"To ensure their own safety people in Louisiana should take precautions immediately. Masking and testing will limit death and suffering until we make it through this," Kanter said.