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Louisiana health department: omicron may be 84% of new cases

December 23, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The very contagious omicron variant may have comprised 84.6% of the COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Louisiana during the week that ended Saturday, the Louisiana Department of Health estimated Thursday.

The agency said the figure is preliminary. Its news release did not say how many people were diagnosed with COVID-19 during that period.

The omicron percentage compares to federal estimates of 92.1% for the region made up of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and 73.2% nationwide, the department said.

It said there are now so many cases that it won’t report the number of omicron variant cases any longer, only the percentage.

It said counts of confirmed and probable cases don’t accurately represent the totals, because many tests cannot be used for genetic sequencing and some of those that can be are not submitted for that process.

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The health department says COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are widely available at more than 1,000 locations across the state. Those include pharmacies, hospitals, health care clinics and doctor’s offices.

Community-based sites operated by the Louisiana National Guard will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.