coronavirus

The Louisiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 update Saturday shows an additional 280 cases spread through the state, bringing the total to 34,117, but it also showed the number of currently hospitalized patients about to dip below 1,000.

That continues a decrease following a spike of 612 new cases Wednesday and 837 on Thursday as new testing labs added their records to the existing pool of test results. Saturday’s change represents a 0.83 percent increase over Friday, when 348 cases were added.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths increased by 36, going from 2,382 on Friday to 2,418 in Saturday’s report, an increase of 1.51 percent. As of May 10, 66 of those deaths were still considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. That number is updated each week on Monday. 

In Iberia Parish, the total number of cases was up one to 353, the first new case logged since a jump of 65 Wednesday. The number of deaths rose by one to 32. There have been 3,414 tests in the parish.

In St. Martin Parish, the number of known cases dropped by six to 272 with 2,546 tests performed. The number of deaths remained at 22.

St. Mary Parish saw an increase of one case, to 269, after 2,132 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths in the parish rose by one, to 29.

In Lafayette Parish, the case count climbed by 35 to 578. The number of deaths remained at  23. There have been 12,356 tests performed in the parish.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 85 to 6,982 on Friday, compared to a drop of six new cases in Orleans Parish to bring that total to 6,781. Both parishes have had similar numbers of tests conducted — 35,742 in Jefferson compared to 35,048 in Orleans — although Jefferson Parish has seen an increase in the number of tests being given in recent weeks.

Even with similar case and test numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 68 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths rose by six, to 495 overnight. Jefferson saw three new deaths reported, for a total of 427 fatalities.

The current number of Louisiana COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range, the largest group of confirmed cases, rose to 6,408 — including 209 fatalities. 

The 70 and above group case count rose to 6,335 cases. The number of deaths in that group rose to 1,619 — still the largest number of fatalities for any age group by far, more than the number of deaths in all other groups combined and more than two-thirds of the total COVID-19 attributed deaths in the state.

In the 40 to 49 age group, the number of cases has risen to 5,688 with 92 deaths reported. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 5,557 cases reported and 440 deaths.  

There were 5,417 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, and 42 deaths. The 18 to 29 age group had 4,142 cases and nine reported deaths. The under 18 group had 570 cases total, with two deaths reported.

The state reference lab has processed 11,386 COVID-19 tests so far. There have been 248,356 tests processed through commercial labs, for a total of 259,742 tests so far.

The number of patients statewide on ventilators went down by nine, to 123 Friday. The overall number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped by 63 to 1,028.

By gender, the state’s daily report shows women making up the largest part — 55 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 40 percent and the other five percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 54.46 percent to 45.2 percent for women, with 0.31 percent identified as unknown or other.

In its update Wednesday afternoon on the number of infections and deaths among the state’s assisted residence facilities, 3,840 infections have been identified among nursing home residents, up from 3,597 on Monday, and 501 cases other residents of other facility types, up from 490, for a total of 4,341. That is a 6.21 percent increase over the last two days, since Monday’s report of 4,087 identified cases.

That number includes 921 deaths — 863 deaths, a rise of 35, in nursing homes and a rise of three, to 58, in other facilities. Those deaths account for just shy of 40 percent of the state’s overall deaths. They also demonstrate a 4.3 percent increase from the 883 deaths reported Monday.

In the latest report, LDH reported COVID-19 had spread to residents of 197 of the state’s 279 nursing homes, an increase of 16 homes, and 77 of the state’s other assisted living facilities. That's a total of 274 of the 436 licensed facilities in the state — 63 percent of the state’s licensed homes.

The reporting lacks details regarding the location of the affected facilities, especially those where clusters of cases are identified. 

As far as staff infections are concerned, LDH does not track the occupations of those who are deemed positive for COVID-19, so there is no information on how many healthcare workers at the assisted living facilities may be infected.

LDH updates the number of residents who are confirmed to have COVID-19 and the number of deaths among these residents on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of May 10, rose to 22,608. In order to be considered recovered, a living patient must either be out of the hospital and 14 days past a positive test result, or 21 days past a positive test date if their hospitalization status is unknown. As with the number of probable fatalities, that statistic is scheduled to be updated weekly, on Monday.

The breakdown of COVID-19 fatalities by ethnicity and race showed some change last week, with the percentage of those deaths in the black community rising, but not to the point it had been a month ago. 

Initially, LDH reported that 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were in the black community. That number has since hovered in the high 50-percent range. It dropped to 56.07 percent  Monday from 57.4 percent a week ago. That data is only reported once a week.

The number is still disproportionate to the demographics of the state’s population. African Americans make up about 40 percent of Louisiana’s populace. 

The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the latest report were hypertension (53.42 percent), diabetes (33.14 percent), and cardiac disease (18.78 percent). Other factors included chronic kidney disease (18.41 percent), obesity (17.96 percent), congestive heart failure (11.21 percent), pulmonary issues (10.62 percent), cancer (6.79 percent), neurological disorders (6.65 percent), and asthma (3.69 percent). 

 

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

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