COVID-19 hospital

The Louisiana Department of Health update Thursday showed the state adding almost 2,200 identified infections to its COVID-19 total as hospitalizations continued to increase.

Statewide, hospitalizations due to the disease increased overnight by 2.34 percent, climbing to 1,401 Thursday, an increase of 32. As of Thursday, 162 of those patients were on ventilators, up 14, or 9.46 percent, from Wednesday. 

That is the highest state COVID-19 hospitalization rate since May 1, when hospitalizations due to the disease were on the downswing due to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order. On that day, 1,447 patients were in hospitals. For perspective, the hospitalizations statewide peaked at 1,991 on April 12, with ventilator usage peaking at 571 on April 4. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers the Acadiana region, rose from 263 on Wednesday to 268 Thursday, or 1.9 percent. But the number of patients on ventilators dropped by two, to 39. 

Both of those numbers eclipse the high points from earlier in the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, Region 4’s COVID-19 related hospitalizations had peaked on April 10, at 125, with ventilator use peaking on April 12 at 37.

The intensive care bed occupancy rate in Region 4 rose Thursday to 81.4 percent, with 149 occupied and 34 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds rose by two, to 183, in Thursday’s report.

Thursday’s report also showed that 1,230 of the hospital beds in the region — 71.4 percent — are occupied, with 492 available. The number of available beds climbed by 10, to 1,722, in Wednesday’s report.

On Thursday LDH reported 86,411 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 2,180, or 2.55 percent, from Wednesday’s running total of 84,131. Over the last week, the state’s number of identified infections grew 20.03 percent, from 71,994 last Thursday.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose by 24, going from 3,351 in Wednesday’s report to 3,375 on Thursday. That rise represents an increase of 0.69 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 74, the median age 76. As of Wednesday, 110 of those deaths were still considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. The number of probable deaths attributed to COVID-19 is updated each week on Wednesday. 

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose by 52, to 1,524. The number of deaths remained at 53, with 13,383 tests performed in the parish. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5 the parish had the second-highest incidence rate in the state, with 810.53 cases reported per 100,000 population.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose by 20, to 1,149, with 13,421 tests performed. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5, the parish had 622.89 cases reported per 100,000 population. The number of deaths rose by one, to 30.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose from 901 to 959, after 8,438 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 39. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5 the parish had 498.25 cases reported per 100,000 population.

In Lafayette Parish, the reported case count rose from 4,352 on Wednesday to 4,520 Thursday, an increase of 168 cases or 3.86 percent. The number of deaths rose by two, to 57. There have been 59,177 tests reported in the parish.The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5, the parish had 673.03 cases reported per 100,000 population.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish was at 11,836 on Thursday, an increase of 222, compared to an increase of 106, to 9,052 cases, in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 105,621 tests in Jefferson compared to 95,049 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 46 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 543 for the second day. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose by two, to 497. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5, Jefferson Parish had 339.82 cases reported per 100,000 population. In Orleans, that number was 171.61 per 100,000.

Statewide, the 18 to 29 age group total rose to 19,132 cases Thursday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group remained at 11. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30-39 age group was at 14,277, with 61 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 13,134 cases and 122 deaths, and the 50-59 age range with 12,803 cases, including 299 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 10,746. The number of deaths in that group rose by 17, to 2,281 — still the largest number of fatalities for any age group by far, more than the number of deaths in all other groups combined and two-thirds of the total COVID-19 attributed deaths in the state.

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 10,055 cases reported and 597 deaths. This age group has the second-highest number of deaths, behind only the 70 and above demographic group.  

The under 18 group, the smallest demographic segment, had 6,095 cases total and four reported deaths.

Labs in Louisiana have processed more than a million COVID-19 tests so far. The state’s reference laboratory has performed 45,427 COVID-19 tests. Commercial labs have contributed 978,710, for a total of 1,024,137 tests. 

By gender, the state’s daily report shows women making up the largest part — 56 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 42 percent and the other two percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 52 percent to 48 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of July 14, rose to 53,288. 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. 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 making up more than half of all cases. 

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 mid-to-high 50-percent range, dropping to 51.49 percent  as of July 15. Caucasian victims made up 46.92 percent of all cases. Other races identified include Asian at 0.69 percent, other at 0.51 percent, Native American/Alaska Native and unknown both at 0.12 percent and Native Hawaiin/Pacific Islander at 0.08 percent. That data is only reported once a week, updated on Wednesday.

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 (59.71 percent), diabetes (36.38 percent), and cardiac disease (20.64 percent).

Other factors included chronic kidney disease (20.37 percent), obesity (18.88 percent), neurological disorders (15.26 percent), congestive heart failure (13.92 percent), pulmonary issues (12.22 percent), cancer (7.29 percent), and asthma (4.09 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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