SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, local health experts are urging the public to take some safety precautions as we approach the Fourth of July.

Statewide, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the last month and an even more significant increase over the last ten days. Louisiana has over 3,000 new COVID cases, and the Shreveport-Bossier area makes up 20% of that number.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, that number could be much higher since people are using more home tests, which are often not reported. Many others are not testing at all.

“Right now, we were 3,000 new cases today. So, probably the true number is more like 6,000,” said Regional Medical Director for Region 7, Dr. Martha Whyte.

Therefore, health experts suggest taking some safety precautions as we approach the Fourth of July is essential. They say new cases are not only affecting certain groups.

“We’re seeing vaccinated, unvaccinated, old, young is at risk unfortunately for COVID,” said Christus Velocity Urgency Care’s Dr. Brian Caskey.

CEO & CMO at CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System, Dr. Steen Trawick, says the more common strains in Louisiana are Omicron B4 and B5. Although these strains haven’t made people as seriously ill as others, he says it’s important to take steps to protect yourself.

“Wear a mask and stay out of big crowds, especially if you’re sick. And just sort of do the general stuff of washing your hands, covering your cough.”

If you plan to have family and friends over, Whyte says consider testing that morning before.

“Just have everybody take a home test,” says Whyte.