Louisiana reports record number of COVID deaths

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Louisiana reported 139 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday – the state's highest reported number of deaths in a single day since the pandemic began, the Louisiana Department of Health tweeted. The previous record, 129 deaths, was reported on April 14, 2020.

“Each death is a terrible loss, even more so because we know most COVID deaths can now be prevented through safe and effective vaccines,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards tweeted

The state's health department reported 3,814 new cases of the virus Tuesday, noting an increase across all age groups within the state. The largest percentage increase of cases were among those aged 5 to 17.

As of Tuesday, 2,856 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Louisiana, and 480 patients are on ventilators. Unvaccinated peopled accounted for 91% of current COVID hospitalizations. The state's cumulative COVID-19 death toll surpassed 12,000 on Tuesday, the state's health department tweeted. Only 11.14% of intensive care unit beds are available statewide, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The state's health department found the virus is most often spread within communities, rather than in congregate settings such as nursing homes. The highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus has also contributed to Louisiana's fourth wave of the virus.

Edwards on Monday applauded the Food and Drug Administration for its approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and urged eligible residents who haven't already done so to get vaccinated.

“It is my fervent hope that any Louisianan who was waiting for the FDA approval of the vaccine will take action to immediately receive their shot,” he said in a statement

To date, 40% of Louisiana's population is fully vaccinated — one of the lowest rates in the country. 

On August 2, Edwards reinstated a temporary statewide mask mandate indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents until September 1. At the time, he said that based on the rate of case growth, percent of positive cases and hospitalizations, the state was in its worst COVID-19 surge. 

“We can end this nightmare,” Edwards said in a statement this month. “But it is going to take all of us working together to do it.” 

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