The state of Louisiana has reached a grim milestone in the COVID pandemic.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, more than 3,000 people are in the state's hospitals battling the novel coronavirus. According to Tuesday's data update, 3,012 Louisianans are hospitalized with COVID-19; of those, 441 are on ventilators.

Of those 3,012 hospitalized COVID patients, 91 percent of them--2,741--were not fully vaccinated. The vast majority of those cases are tied to community spread, not congregant settings such as nursing homes that overwhelmingly contributed to COVID's spread last spring.

Meanwhile, LDH reported 122 new COVID-related deaths and 3,691 new cases in the last 24 hours. Nineteen of those deaths and 625 of those cases came from the parishes in our listening area. Ninety percent of the new cases reported were in people who were not fully vaccinated, while 83 percent of the newly deceased hadn't been fully vaccinated.

The 18-29 age group continues to account for the majority of the state's COVID cases, with 133,447 attributed to that cohort. However, the 5-17 age group continues to see its case count rise. As of today, that figure sits at 69,998. According to Governor John Bel Edwards's deputy chief of staff Christina Stephens, one quarter of today's new cases are in children.

While COVID's fourth wave continues to attack Louisiana, health care professionals find themselves having to make literal life-and-death decisions. For example, Acadian Ambulance is considering implementing a plan in which they would refuse to transport patients in areas where hospitals are full.

Department of Health officials continue to urge Louisiana residents to mask up and get the vaccine in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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