COVID-19

In the state’s daily briefing on COVID-19 Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux both confirmed that the state’s residents were not only ignoring guidance to wear masks in public, but the contact tracers the state hired are not receiving calls back from individuals as they try to track the spread of the disease across the state.

The results of those trends are also starting to show up in the daily updates from the Louisiana Department of Health, where the state’s case numbers and hospitalizations have at best plateaued, and at worst are preparing to rise.

The Thursday COVID-19 update showed that the disease is continuing to spread through the state. LDH reported 44,472 identified cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana, an increase of 442 cases, or 1 percent, over Wednesday’s total of 44,030. 

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 also rose by four, to 553. The number of patients statewide on ventilators rose by five, to 77.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose by 19, going from 2,855 on Wednesday to 2,874 in Thursday’s report. That rise represents an increase of 0.67 percent. As of Monday, 113 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 Monday. 

In Iberia Parish, the total number of cases rose by two, to 430. The number of deaths remained at 41, with 5,011 tests performed in the parish.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose by four, to 346, after 3,973 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths rose by one, to 33.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose by 12, to 307, with 4,253 tests performed. The number of deaths remained at 25.

In Lafayette Parish, the reported case count rose by 26, or 2.79 percent,  to 957 Thursday. The number of deaths also rose by three, to 33, marking a 10 percent increase. There have been 18,768 tests reported in the parish.

The City Club at River Ranch also sent out an email to its members Wednesday staging that three staff members, including a server who worked last weekend and a lifeguard who was at work Tuesday, had tested positive for COVID-19. According to The Current in Lafayette, the club said it is making arrangements to test all of its employees for COVID-19 and offered to allow members who had contact with the infected individuals to also be tested.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish was reported up 61, at 8,032 on Thursday, compared to a rise of 15, to 7,294 cases, in Orleans Parish. Both parishes have had similar numbers of tests conducted — 56,849 in Jefferson compared to 53,917 in Orleans.

Even with similar case and test numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 49 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish reported deaths rose by two, to 515. Jefferson rose by one, to 464 fatalities.

The number of Louisiana COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range rose to 7,930, including 252 fatalities. 

The 70 and above group case count rose to 7,498 cases, making it the age group with the largest number of identified cases. The number of deaths in that group rose by 5 to 1,938 — 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 7,301 with 105 deaths reported. There were 7,177 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, and 49 deaths. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 6,545 cases reported and 517 deaths.  

The 18 to 29 age group had 6,562 cases and 11 reported deaths. The under 18 group had 1,459 cases total, with two deaths reported.

The state’s reference laboratory has performed 26,111 COVID-19 tests so far. Commercial labs have contributed 443,562, for a total of 469,673 tests. 

By gender, the state’s daily report shows women making up the largest part — 54 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 41 percent and the other five percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 53 percent to 47 percent for women.

The state issued its weekly update on the number of infections among nursing home residents and staff Monday, as well as the number of deaths among residents. The largest new cluster was identified at the Colonial Care Retirement Center in Baton Rouge, where 39 new cases were reported.

In the Teche Area, Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary nursing homes all reported that they had no new cases among residents last week.

In Iberia Parish:

  • Belle Teche Nursing and Rehab Center had 37 infections and four deaths among its 104 residents. It also reported 18 infections among its staff, all of whom recovered. 

  • Consolata Nursing Home reported no infections among its 64 residents and one infection, recovered, among the staff.

  • Maison Teche Nursing Center reported 44 infections and 10 deaths among its 59  residents, 24 of whom recovered. It also reported seven infections among the staff, six of whom have recovered.

  • New Iberia Manor North Iberia reported 34 positive cases and four deaths among its 57 residents, 25 of whom have recovered. It also reported 11 infections among the staff, nine of whom have recovered.

  • New Iberia Manor South reported that 52 of its 50 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Although 34 have recovered, 15 residents have died. There have also been 22 positive cases found among the center’s staff, 18 of whom recovered.

In St. Martin Parish:

  • St. Agnes Healthcare and Rehab Center reported 47 positive cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths among its 85 residents, 32 of whom recovered. It also reported 11 infections among the staff, all of whom recovered.

  • Landmark of Acadiana Nursing Home reported no infections among its 119 residents and no infections among its staff.

In St. Mary Parish:

  • Legacy Nursing and Rehabilitation of Franklin reported 74 positive COVID-19 tests and 16 deaths among its 89 residents, 44 of whom recovered. Another 18 positive cases were found among the center’s employees, all of whom recovered.

  • Legacy Nursing and Rehabilitation of Morgan City reported no infections among its 69 residents and no infections among the staff.

  • Patterson Healthcare Center reported one positive COVID-19 case, recovered, among its 100 residents. It also reported three cases among the center’s employees, two of whom recovered.

In other long-term licensed adult care facilities, LDH reported that 122 of those facilities reported at least one case of COVID-19 among residents or staff, with 630 cases of COVID-19 and 91 deaths reported among the residents of those adult residential centers. 

The state had reported the number of clusters of infections at specific nursing homes and long-term care facilities until April 1, when it stopped. Instead, LDH began reporting aggregate totals of infected facilities and residents. Those reports were also limited to twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of June 6, rose to 33,904. 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 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. It was at 53.2 percent  Monday, with Caucasian victims making up 43.94 percent of all cases. Other races identified include unknown at 1.20 percent, Asian at 0.78 percent, other at 0.64 percent, Native Hawaiin/Pacific Islander at 0.08 percent and Native American/Alaska Native at 0.07 percent. 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 (59.61 percent), diabetes (36.67 percent), and cardiac disease (20.48 percent). Other factors included chronic kidney disease (19.88 percent), obesity (19.43 percent), congestive heart failure (13.48 percent), pulmonary issues (11.88 percent), neurological disorders (10.61 percent), cancer (7.45 percent), and asthma (4.17 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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