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Due to a data system issue, the Louisiana Department of Health did not update the number of COVID-19 deaths on its dashboard Friday, but the latest report did show the number of pandemic-related hospitalizations in the state continuing to ping-pong around the 2,000 mark.

The state added 3,712 new COVID-19 cases Friday based on 38,033 new tests, pushing the state’s total of identified cases to 364,853.

Of those, 322,565 are confirmed, with 42,288 listed as possible cases.

According to an LDH spokesman, people initially identified as having a positive antigen test who are later identified as having a positive confirmatory test will be removed from the possible case count and added to the cumulative case count.

The rough positivity rate for Friday’s new tests was 9.8 percent. 

Louisiana had more than 8,000 total COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday, with more than 250 new deaths being added since Sunday. Of the total deaths, 7,631 are confirmed, with 449 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing.

The average age of fatal patients remained at 75, while the median age remained at 77.

Local numbers

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 5,537 Friday, an increase of 29. Of those, 5,152 are confirmed, with 385 probable. The number of deaths remained at 127, with 119 confirmed and eight probable. There have been 66,074 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 11.45 percent, from 13.1 percent on Dec. 30 to 14.6 percent on Jan. 6. The incidence of tests rose by 17.11 percent, from 428.53 per 10,000 population to 501.83.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 4,269, an increase of one, with 49,173 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 16.9 percent on Dec. 30 to 18.5 percent on Jan. 6, a 9.47 percent increase, while the incidence rate per 10,000 population rose from 415.88 on Dec. 30 to 458.78 on Jan. 6. The number of deaths remained at 94, with 86 confirmed and eight probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose from 10.7 percent on Dec. 30 to 11.2 percent on Jan. 6, an increase of 4.67 percent. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population increased, from 341.54 on Dec. 30 to 411.86 on Jan. 6. Total cases rose to 3,504, an increase of 24, after 40,859 tests. Of those cases, 2,986 are confirmed, with 518 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 104, with 97 confirmed and seven probable. 

Around the state

In Lafayette Parish, the Friday case count rose by 117, to 19,085, with the number of tests rising to 244,231. The seven-day test positivity average dropped slightly, from 15.5 percent on Dec. 30 to 15.4  percent as of Jan. 6, a decrease of 0.65 percent. The incidence rate per 10,000 population rose during the same period, from 414.36 to 472.03. The number of deaths remained at 212, with 199 confirmed and 13 probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 37,200 on Wednesday, an increase of 523, compared to an increase of 205, to 24,170, in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 585,850, compared to 456,677 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 696, with 650 confirmed and 46 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 715, with 688 confirmed and 27 probable.

Hospitalizations

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections showed 1,975 hospitalizations on Thursday, an increase of 26 from 1,975 on Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by three, to 242.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by three, to 211 Thursday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by four, to 32.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Wednesday was at 79.6 percent, with 1,341 of the region’s beds occupied and 342 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,683.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana remained above 90 percent Wednesday, at 91.3 percent, with 147 of 161 beds occupied.

The overall occupancy percentages are based on all cases, not just COVID-19 cases, and includes not only the physical bed and space but also the staff required to issue care. The burden of additional patient load affects the ability of hospitals to serve all patients, especially in critical care situations.

By age group

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 75,720 Friday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 28. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 58,589, with 105 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 53,156 cases and 244 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 52,592 cases, including 670 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 42,185 cases reported and 1,485 deaths. This age group has the second-highest number of deaths, behind only the 70 and above demographic group.

The 70 and above group case count was at 39,362. The number of deaths in that group rose to 5,541 — 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.

The under 18 group had 42,956 cases total — 7,933 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

Seven-day average

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Jan. 6 was 314.8 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 370.8 on Dec. 30. The positivity rate among those tests rose as of Jan. 6 to 13.5 percent, up from 13.4 percent on Dec. 30. 

In Region 4, the Jan. 6 testing rate was at 312.4 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was above the state average at 14.2 percent, up from 13.6 percent on Dec. 30.

According to Friday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 4,843,235 COVID-19 tests so far.

Gender, underlying conditions

By gender, the state’s weekly report shows women making up the largest part — 56 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 44 percent. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Jan. 4, rose to 298,614. 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.

Initially, LDH reported that 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were in the Black community. That number remained at 40.16 percent as of Jan. 6, while White victims now make up 58.46 percent of all fatal cases. 

The Native American/Alaskan Native total was at 0.11 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.68 percent, Unknown at 0.05 percent and Other at 0.41 percent.

That data is only reported once every two weeks as of the beginning of the year, with the next update due on Jan. 27.

The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the latest report were hypertension (63.65 percent), diabetes (37.25 percent), and neurological disorders (26.99 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.42 percent), chronic kidney disease (21.71 percent), obesity (20.84 percent), congestive heart failure (16.56 percent), pulmonary issues (14.69 percent), cancer (8.7 percent), and asthma (4.17 percent). Only 4.2 percent of all patients had no underlying conditions.

 

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

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