More than 18,000 people have died from COVID in Louisiana

Louisiana has officially surpassed 18,000 COVID-19 deaths since the state recorded its first COVID-19 death on March 14, 2020.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 18,009 people had died in its COVID-19 data update Friday.

COVID-19, which has claimed more than a million American lives since the pandemic began, was the leading cause of death in the United States in 2020 and 2021, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Louisiana, COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death as of 2020, behind only heart disease and cancer.

“Today we mark a tragic and sobering milestone in Louisiana as we recognize the more than 18,000 loved ones from all corners of this state who are no longer with us because of COVID-19. My prayers today and every day are with the grieving families and communities who have been forever changed by this pandemic,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “We have come a long way in fighting this virus and I continue to hope that we will will see fewer deaths in the months and years to come.As we continue to descendThe reality of this virus is still with us after our sixth and longest rise to date.To keep up to date with our vaccines, including taking the new ones bivalent COVID-19 booster shot, if you are eligible, is the best way to stay safe, protect the progress we have made and ensure that there are better days ahead.”

LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips said it was a grim reminder of the importance of booster shots and flu shots for the upcoming season.

“The level of losses due to this virus is truly staggering. We remember the 18,000 Louisians who died from COVID-19 who, along with their loved ones, paid the ultimate price. We must remain vigilant about this pandemic and continue to do what we can to save as many lives as possible, with more testing, vaccines and treatments than ever before,” Phillips said. “As the fall and winter season approaches, it’s important Taking precautions to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe and healthy This year, as we prepare for a potentially active flu season, that means both the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster shot and the flu shot.”

dr Joseph Kanter, state health commissioner, said progress had been made but we should prepare for a further surge.

“The magnitude of the loss from a virus that has only been with us for 30 months is difficult and painful to grasp, but it is what focuses and drives our continued efforts to preserve human life,” Kanter said. “We have made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19 and are on the right track. Case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths are declining. Although we’ve come a long way, new variants are likely to continue to emerge, and there The good news is that we know how to protect ourselves and communities — get vaccinated and boosted, test when exposed or sick, people who get infected and are at higher risk of serious disease, with evidence-based treatments such as Paxlovid and the use of prophylactic treatments such as Evusheld in patients with moderate or severe immunodeficiency.”

Nearly 2.5 million people in Louisiana have completed their first vaccination course against COVID-19.

Updated COVID-19 booster shots, now available across Louisiana, have been formulated to provide continued protection against the original strain of the virus while providing better protection against the two Omicron variant lineages, BA.4 and BA. 5, representing over 90% of the virus currently circulating.

CDC and LDH recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the COVID-19 vaccine and that everyone 5 years and older receive a booster shot as soon as they are eligible.

CDC and LDH recommend everyone 6 months and older to get the flu shot.

Residents looking for a flu or COVID-19 vaccine in their area can go to Vaccines.gov to find a suitable location.

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