The growth of reported COVID-19 cases in Louisiana slowed in the last 24 hours, but the percentage of deaths continued to rise at a double-digit pace, according to the latest data from the state Department of Health.

The number of COVID-19 deaths climbed Sunday to 477, an increase of 68 over Saturday’s toll of 409. That is a 17 percent rise. During the same time period, the Louisiana Department of Health said that 13,010 cases of COVID-19 were identified in the state, a rise of only 514 from Saturday. That is compared to the more than 2,000 case jump from Friday to Saturday. 

The number of reported cases, however, is not a true benchmark. Many factors can influence day-to-day case counts, including testing cycles and whether or not staff are working to collate and report findings. LDH has made it clear that deaths are also not necessarily reported on the day that they occur, but there are still fewer variables at play in that statistic.

According to an LDH spokesperson, the numbers reported on the department’s website have been corrected after issues with duplication of tests from some commercial labs were identified. The discrepancy affected results in Acadia, Avoyelles, Concordia, Iberia, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, St. Landry, St.  Martin and Vermilion parishes. 

In Iberia Parish, the total of identified cases rose Sunday to 69 based on 315 tests in the parish. The death toll from COVID-19 related deaths remained at three.

St. Martin Parish saw its cases rise from 64 to 77, but the number of COVID-19-attributed deaths dropped to four from the five reported Saturday. There have only been 114 COVID-19 tests performed in St. Martin Parish.

In St. Mary Parish, however, the number of cases rose from 67 on Friday to 67 in Sunday’s report, with 238 tests performed in the parish. There have been no reported COVID-19 deaths in St. Mary Parish as of Sunday.

Lafayette Parish saw an increase of 18 cases, from the 229 reported Saturday to 247 on Sunday, with 6,082 tests performed. The parish has reported five deaths from COVID-19.

New Orleans is at 4,066 cases, a rise of only 100 cases from 3,966 on Friday based on 16,210 COVID-19 tests performed to date. The parish added eight deaths overnight, climbing to 161. The Jefferson Parish case count has risen by 80 to 3,088 from 3,008 on Saturday, with 18 additional deaths reported, bringing the tally to 113. There have been 3,160 COVID-19 tests administered there.

According to the LDH update Friday afternoon, COVID-19 cases have been reported in 61 of the 436 nursing homes and long-term living facilities in Louisiana. The department will no longer publish the names of homes which are host to clusters of COVID-19 cases. Instead, it will update the raw number of nursing homes with COVID-19 cases, the number of nursing home residents who are confirmed to have COVID-19 and the number of deaths among those residents. 

Those updates will only be given two days a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. In its last update on those facilities, issued Friday, 261 patients have been reported to have COVID-19, with 60 deaths reported among home residents. In many cases, according to LDH, health care providers outside of the long-term care facility test and diagnose residents with COVID-19. The facilities then self-report positive cases to the Department of Health.  

Currently there are 1,803 patients in hospital beds across the state, with 561 of them requiring ventilators to breathe. That is an increase of 77 patients, from 1,726 on Saturday, but a decrease of 10 ventilators from the 571 reported 24 hours previously.

In television appearances Sunday morning, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he expects the state’s resource usage to peak this week, around April 9. 

Projections from a team at Washington State University show the state hitting its peak resource use on April 10, with its peak deaths coming on April 12, with 85 dead that day.

The state’s reference laboratory has performed 4,368 tests as of Sunday’s report. Commercial laboratories have added another 55,957 tests.

The current number of Louisiana COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range, the largest group of confirmed cases, rose Saturday to 2,737 — including 61 fatalities. In the 40 to 49 age group, the number of cases has risen to 2,395 with 29 deaths reported. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 2,306 cases reported and 87 deaths. The 70 and above group case count rose to 2,154 cases. The number of deaths in that group rose to 282 — the largest number of fatalities for any age group and more than the number of deaths in all other groups combined.

There are 2,048 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, and 14 deaths. The 18 to 29 age group has 1,247 cases and three reported deaths. The under 18 group has 123 cases total, with one death reported.

Women continue to make up the largest part — 55 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state. Men make up 40 percent, with 5 percent listed as unknown or other.

 

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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