4:30 LRN Newscast July 29

The Louisiana Department of Health reports 44-hundred new COVID-19 cases today and just over 16-hundred are in hospitals with COVID-related issues. The state also reported 20 additional deaths from the virus as the highly transmissible Delta variant continues to spread. Health officials say the Delta variant is responsible for more than 85-percent of COVID cases in the state.

As COVID cases continue to increase in the fourth surge, on a positive note Louisiana is reporting more individuals being vaccinated for COVID. Brooke Thorington has more.

Cut 1 (29) “ …I’m Brooke Thorington.” 

Ochsner Health System says they will require employees to be vaccinated for COVID once the vaccines receive full FDA approval. CEO Warner Thomas, says there’s a nationwide nursing shortage which is another reason they are moving to mandatory vaccinations.

Cut 4 (11) “…as needed.” 

In the meantime, nonvaccinated employees will be required to wear N95 masks and undergo scheduled testing for COVID.

State data shows that COVID cases in Louisiana nursing homes have nearly tripled and nursing homes are reporting their first deaths among residents since June 23rd. Andrew Muhl, director of advocacy for AARP Louisiana says over 80-percent of nursing home residents are vaccinated but if less than half of the staff is, the delta variant can still cause outbreaks…

Cut 13 (11) “…infectious virus.”

Muhl says if you have a loved one in a nursing home you should ask how they are protecting patients and screening staff and visitors.