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Louisiana added almost 4,500 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as officials wait for the expected uptick in cases following the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The daily Louisiana Department of Health update showed 4,454 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. The Tuesday results were based on 46,592 new tests, pushing the state’s total of identified cases to 326,648.

Of those, 295,825 are confirmed, with 30,823 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 Tuesday’s tests was 9.6 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 7,635, an increase of 50 from Monday’s total of 7,585. Of those, 7,241 are confirmed, with 394 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.66 percent. 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 5,067 Tuesday, an increase of 147. Of those, 4,754 are confirmed, with 313 probable. The number of deaths remained at 122, with 114 confirmed and eight probable. There have been 60,998 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity dropped by 3.1 percent, from 9.6 percent on Dec. 16 to 9.3 percent on Dec. 23. The incidence of tests decreased from 319.98 per 10,000 population to 305.89.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 3,906, an increase of 55, with 46,506 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 14.2 percent on Dec. 16 to 15 percent on Dec. 23, a 5.6 percent increase, while the incidence rate per 10,000 population dropped from 425.21 on Dec. 16 to 395.37 on Dec. 23. The number of deaths rose by one, to 86, with 79 confirmed and seven probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose by 7.9 percent on Dec. 23 to 8.2 percent, up from 7.6 percent on Dec. 16. The incidence rate per 10,000 population increased, from 227.03 on Dec. 16 to 231.04 on Dec. 23. Total cases rose to 3,164 Tuesday, after 37,554 tests. Of those cases, 2,805 are confirmed, with 359 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths was at 103, with 96 confirmed and seven probable. 

Around the state

In Lafayette Parish, the Tuesday case count rose by 283, to 17,334, with the number of tests rising to 230,410. The seven-day test positivity average dropped from 11.8 percent on Dec. 16 to 10.5  percent as of Dec. 23, a decrease of 11 percent. The incidence rate per 10,000 population dropped during the same period, from 420.13 to 307.68. The number of deaths rose by one, to 190, with 181 confirmed and nine probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 33,091 on Tuesday, compared to an increase to 20,780 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 535,587, compared to 421,922 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the confirmed COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose to 682, with 640 confirmed and 42 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose to 681, with 654 confirmed and 27 probable.

Hospitalizations

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections showed 1,974 hospitalizations on Monday, an increase of 83 from 1,891 on Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by two, to 205. The highest hospitalization count during the pandemic so far was on April 12, at 1,991.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by 11 to 216 Monday, up from 205 Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators Tuesday rose by four to 28.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Monday was at 77.5 percent, with 1,209 of the region’s beds occupied and 351 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,560.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was back above 90 percent Monday, at 90.3 percent, with 140 of 155 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 68,537 Thursday. 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 52,670, with 102 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 47,570 cases and 234 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 47,068 cases, including 637 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 37,671 cases reported and 1,399 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 35,446. The number of deaths in that group rose to 5,228 — 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 37,400 cases total — 7,001 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

Seven-day average

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Dec. 23 was 285.3 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 325 on Dec. 16. The positivity rate among those tests rose to 10.7 percent, up from 9.5 percent on Dec. 16. 

In Region 4, the Dec. 23 testing rate was at 322.9 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was below the state average at 10.2 percent, down from 10.4 percent on Dec. 16.

According to Thursday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 4,500,223 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, 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Dec. 28, rose to 263,712. 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 has since dropped to 41.27 percent as of Dec. 30, while White victims now make up 57.46 percent of all fatal cases. 

The Native American/Alaskan Native total was at 0.1 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.68 percent, Unknown at 0.01 percent and Other at 0.37 percent.

That data is only reported once a week, updated on Wednesday.

The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the latest report were hypertension (63.88 percent), diabetes (37.25 percent), and neurological disorders (27.34 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.42 percent), chronic kidney disease (22.05 percent), obesity (20.69 percent), congestive heart failure (16.73 percent), pulmonary issues (14.54 percent), cancer (8.71 percent), and asthma (4.07 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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