Study: Louisiana Is the Least Safe State During COVID-19 Pandemic
A new survey says Louisiana ranks dead last when it comes to safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
The results of the study, conducted by WalletHub.com, come one day after the state saw its coronavirus case count increase by 5,388--the third-highest increase since the pandemic began last spring.
According to the Wallet Hub study, Louisiana ranks 50th in vaccination rate, behind only the District of Columbia. According to Louisiana Department of Health data released Wednesday, approximately 36 percent of Louisiana residents have completed the vaccine series.
The survey also found that Louisiana has the third-highest COVID death rate in the country--behind only Montana and Maine. Louisiana, according to the survey, has the sixth-highest hospitalization rate in the United States, the 10th-highest positive test rate, and the 23rd-highest COVID transmission rate.
This new survey comes as COVID percent positivity rates across Louisiana and Acadiana continue to rise. The percent positivity rate for Region 4--which covers the majority of Acadiana--increased from 6.5 percent last week to 9.9 percent this week. Meanwhile, percent positivity rates in four Acadiana parishes (Vermilion, St. Martin, Iberia, and St. Mary Parishes) are above 10 percent, putting them in the "highest risk" category. The only parishes in Acadiana that are not at highest risk are Evangeline and Jeff Davis Parishes. LDH lists them as being "high risk."
Health officials across the state say the vast majority of COVID cases and deaths they see--between 94 and 97 percent--are from unvaccinated patients. Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, the director of infection control and prevention at Ochsner Health, says 94 percent of the cases at her facility and 97 percent of the deaths there are from unvaccinated patients.
Ochsner Health President/CEO Warner Thomas says his health system is in its fourth surge. Dr. Baumgarten says that's putting more stress on doctors, nurses, and resources that are already stretched thin. Now, Baumgarten and other health officials are working to fight against misinformation about the vaccine by educating members of the public about the vaccine's benefits.
"Because we have the large number and surge of COVID patients, our hospital becomes stretched," Dr. Baumgarten told the Louisiana Radio Network. "We should be talking to people individually and addressing their concerns and make sure they go to the data."
Ochsner Lafayette General is making no bones about the need for people to get the vaccine. They addressed some of the misinformation floating online and in public with a post on their Facebook page.