BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As federal health officials announce that the nation is on the cusp of authorizing COVID-19 vaccinations for children under five, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) confirms that the virus is still affecting thousands of people across the state. 

LDH announced Thursday, June 2 that 1,372 new COVID cases have been reported in the state, 235 of which are individuals who’ve been reinfected. 

The Department also said 206 individuals have been hospitalized due to the virus and that, sadly, five additional coronavirus-related deaths have occurred since June 1. 

At this time, most of the newly reported cases appear to be happening in the Greater New Orleans area. 

Image Credit: Louisiana Department of Health (LDH)

LDH encourages vaccination as the top means of protection from COVID-19. 

The federal government says the last group to be authorized for vaccinations -children under the age of five- may be cleared for the shots as early as June 21. 

Before vaccinations for children under five can begin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must meet for a June 14-15 discussion and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must make its recommendations as well. 

White House COVID Coordinator Ashish Jha said the federal government aims to distribute ten million doses to states, and that pharmacies and health centers should be able to begin ordering the vaccines as soon as Friday.