SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – LSU Health Shreveport will host a news conference Wednesday to update the public on COVID-19 and monkeypox.

Leaders from LSUHS joined research experts, medical professionals, and community leaders to provide information on prominent and new variants of COVID.

“Today our case count is 1,541 new cases. We had almost 2,500 cases yesterday. So, it is a pretty large number each day, “said Dr. Martha Whyte the Director of Louisiana Department of Health Region 7.

The group of healthcare providers emphasized the importance of having COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.

“We may see these peaks and valleys for a long time to come and we want everyone to do everything they can to stay safe and keep our community safe, “said Dr. Martha Whyte.

Healthcare providers have seen an increase in respiratory infections but urge the public to get tested if they believe they are experiencing a summer cold or allergy-like symptoms.

Dr. John Vanchiere reminded parents and care providers that August is National Vaccination Month and encouraged them to make sure that their children are fully vaccinated against COVID and other childhood diseases.

Vanchiere also mentioned LSUHS’s ongoing relationship with public schools in northwest Louisiana that are participating in the health center’s testing program, which is providing crucial infection rate information for children.

Dr. Martha Whyte also took the time to emphasize the importance of not labeling monkeypox as a disease that only affects the gay community.

Whyte says it is not an STD and is not limited to one community, although that is the population that the disease was shown in first. She emphasized the importance of not sharing food or drink and avoiding close contact with infected people. Whyte also mentioned that towels and bed sheets could potentially help spread monkeypox.

The doctors say that while monkeypox is uncomfortable, it is not an emergency. You should seek treatment at your primary care doctor or urgent care.

For information about the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 or monkeypox, visit the LSUHS emerging viral threats website.