Mandates to remain through Mardi Gras as New Orleans sees omicron peak

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city of New Orleans is beginning to see a peak in omicron infections.

Monday, Ochsner said they believe the peak to have happened on Jan. 11 in terms of their hospitalizations. Statewide, 2,304 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 last Friday. On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 2,184 patients.

City spokesperson Beau Tidwell says the good news brings “cautious optimism” as the Big Easy charges full steam ahead toward welcoming Mardi Gras parades back.

While it’s likely cases of COVID-19 are trending down, Tidwell says that will not change anything when it comes to health and safety requirements for parades.

“We do seem to have hit a peak and moved past it. Hospitalizations have plateaued and starting to slowly see the number come down, that is all news for cautious optimism. As we move toward Mardi Gras we hope to see this trend continue but as we move forward. The way we keep the numbers down... it’s no new trick here. It’s vaccinations its boosters, and its masking up,” Tidwell said in the city’s weekly press conference Tuesday.

Riders and participants must still be vaccinated or provide a negative test in order to be on a float or in the parade.

In New Orleans, at least 93% of adults have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Tidwell says the state’s health department is reporting fewer hospitalizations, which is good news for Carnival, but residents and visitors will need to take precautions to ensure the good times roll.

While things are trending down, health director Dr. Jennifer Avegno is opting out of riding in Krewe du Vieux. Tidwell says it was a personal decision and not because of health department policy.

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Mykal Vincent

Mykal Vincent

Mykal Vincent started his digital news career in Baton Rouge and has since moved to New Orleans as the Digital News Supervisor for FOX 8.