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Jennifer Potier recieves her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from lead pharmacy technician Marissa Newell on Friday, July 16, 2021, at Neighbors Pharmacy in Lafayette.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Louisiana rose to 844 patients Wednesday afternoon, the highest levels since mid-February, according to a noon update from the Louisiana Department of Health

Louisiana also reported an additional 3,264 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Wednesday — the largest batch of new infections since January 15, when the state was in the thick of a deadly, winter surge. 

Another 9 people in Louisiana died from COVID-19 overnight, the state reported, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus to 9,819 since the pandemic began. 

Louisiana is at the start of its fourth surge in cases, fueled by the highly-contagious delta variant, and made worse by the state's lagging vaccination rates. Nearly two-thirds of the state's population remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, and hospital officials statewide said most of their patients hospitalized with the coronavirus haven't gotten the jab.  

Louisiana has logged 10,059 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days, a number that's 6.5 times larger than what was reported four weeks ago, according to an analysis of state data by The Times-Picayune and The Advocate. 


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Note: The Advocate and The Times-Picayune staff calculates daily case count and confirmed death increases based on the difference between today's total and yesterday's total of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. The Louisiana Department of Health releases a daily case count on its dashboard that includes probable cases as indicated by a positive antigen test. That case count can be different than the one listed here.

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Louisiana began reopening for Phase 1 on May 15-16 then moved to Phase 2 on June 5. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana's Phase 2 restrictions twice in August before moving the state to Phase 3 on Sept. 11. The governor then moved the state back to a modified Phase 2 near the end of November before putting Louisiana back in a modified Phase 3 on March 2, 2021.

This is a developing story. More details and analysis to come. 


Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater