Today, the Louisiana Department of Health confirms the death of a child under the age of 1– the first of the fourth surge of COVID-19 in the state, which is largely driven by the stronger, more contagious Delta variant and the state’s lower vaccination rates. Today, the Louisiana Department of Health reports 110 deaths from COVID, including this young child, bringing the total deaths in the state from COVID-19 to 12,226.
“Each COVID-19 death in Louisiana has been heart wrenching, but the loss of such a young child, who could not be vaccinated yet, is tragic and a stark reminder of the difficult circumstance we are in throughout Louisiana. Right now, we are seeing younger people hospitalized. They are getting sicker than in the previous surge and, unfortunately some of them may die. Already, this week, we have confirmed 6,146 COVID cases in children and last week there were 63 pediatric cases of COVID admitted to the hospital. Even children who are not hospitalized or very sick are contagious,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Delta variant, which now accounts for all of the COVID cases in our state, is far more contagious than previous strains of COVID as our strained hospitals prove. We have hope in the form of safe and effective vaccines, but only if many more of us who are eligible and able to actually take them and only if we slow the spread of this illness through masking and distancing as well. All Louisianans, regardless of their age or health status, are worthy of our care and attention. Every person lost to this virus, young or old, leaves a hole in the fabric of our communities.”
“This news is heartbreaking,” said. Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “And it’s a tragic reminder that the numbers we report everyday are also our children, friends and neighbors, and that no one is immune to this virus’ impact. The best way we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and young children who are not eligible to get the vaccine is to get vaccinated ourselves and wear a mask. It’s really that simple.”
A child this young has not died from COVID in Louisiana in more than six months. In total, 11 children younger than 18 have died from COVID in Louisiana. On Wednesday, 31 percent of newly reported COVID-19 cases in Louisiana were in children younger than 18.
In addition to promoting the safe, effective and widely available vaccines, Gov. Edwards issued a statewide mask mandate, which includes school age children.
HOW TO GET A COVID VACCINE IN LOUISIANA
Everyone age 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. The FDA has fully authorized Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 16 and up. The Pfizer vaccine for those between the ages of 12 and 15 remains under emergency use authorization. Parents should confirm with the vaccine provider that their child is under 18 to ensure the Pfizer vaccine is available before making an appointment.