Aimee Matzen strained to breathe as she expressed how stressful it is to have Covid-19 in her hospital room in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Matzen, 44, is in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at Baton Rouge’s Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. She is receiving oxygen treatments and is hoping to prevent the need for a ventilator if she can.
With the prevalence of Covid-19 on the rise in states around the country, Louisiana is one of the states hardest hit by the most recent spike in cases, which is largely due to the Delta variation. The state has the highest seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 population in the country, with 77 cases reported per 100,000 residents per day during the last week.
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana’s vaccination rate is among the lowest in the US, with only 37 percent of residents fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. It’s the sixth lowest in the US, and Louisiana is one of six states with a vaccination rate of less than 38 percent. Ochsner, the state’s largest hospital facility, has seen a 700 percent spike in Covid-19 patients in the previous month, and a 75 percent increase in the last week, according to officials.