The state Department of Health update Wednesday showed the state adding more than 2,000 identified infections to its COVID-19 total.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers the Acadiana region, rose from 251 on Tuesday to 263 Wednesday. But the number of patients on ventilators dropped by one, to 41. 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 rose Wednesday to 81.2 percent, with 147 of the 181 beds in Region 4 occupied and 34 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds rose by one, to 181, in Wednesday’s report.

Tuesday’s report also showed that 1,232 of the 1,712 available hospital beds in the region — 71.9 percent — are occupied. 

Statewide, hospitalizations due to the disease increased overnight by 0.51 percent, climbing to 1,369 Wednesday, an increase of seven. As of Wednesday, 149 of those patients were on ventilators, up four from Tuesday. 

For perspective, the hospitalizations statewide peaked at 1,991 on April 12, with ventilator usage peaking at 571 on April 4. 

On Wednesday LDH reported 84,131 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 2,089, or 2.55 percent, from Tuesday’s running total of 82,042. Over the last week, the state’s number of identified infections grew 19.93 percent, from 70,151 last Wednesday.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose by 14, going from 3,337 in Sunday’s report to 3,351 on Wednesday. That rise represents an increase of 0.42 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 74, the median age 76. As of today, 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 64, to 1,472. The number of deaths rose by one, to 53, with 12,992 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 19, to 1,129, with 13,153 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 two, to 29.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose from 843 to 901, after 8,212 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 4,216 on Tuesday to 4,352 Wednesday, an increase of 136 cases or 3.23 percent. The number of deaths remained at 55. There have been 57,291 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 11,614 on Wednesday, an increase of 164, compared to an increase of 100, to 8,946 cases, in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 103,884 tests in Jefferson compared to 93,241 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 48 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths rose by one, to 543. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 495 for the third day. 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 had its total adjusted downward, to 18,584 cases Wednesday, but 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 13,874, with 61 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 12,821 cases and 121 deaths, and the 50-59 age range with 12,488 cases, including 297 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 10,541. The number of deaths in that group rose by eight, to 2,264 — 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 9,837 cases reported and 594 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 5,817 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 43,928 COVID-19 tests. Commercial labs have contributed 957,272, for a total of 1,045,128 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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