COVID-19

The Louisiana Department of Health update Friday showed the state adding another 2,100 identified infections to its COVID-19 total, marking the fourth straight day with more than 2,000 new cases added.

This came as an unpublished report from the White House and the Coronavirus Task Force surfaced Friday recommending that states with high positive test rates and new infection daily totals, including Louisiana, should halt their moves to reopen, instead tightening restrictions in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, which released the document, it suggests that “red zone” states should revert to more stringent protective measures, limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, closing bars and gyms and asking residents to wear masks at all times. 

On Friday, LDH reported 88,590 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 2,179, or 2.52 percent, from Thursday’s running total of 86,411. Over the last week, the state’s number of identified infections grew 18.7 percent, from 74,636 last Friday.

Statewide, hospitalizations due to the disease increased overnight by .86 percent, climbing to 1,413 Friday, an increase of 12. As of Friday, 161 of those patients were on ventilators, down by one from Thursday.

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 268 on Thursday to 269 Friday, or 0.37 percent. The number of patients on ventilators rose by four, or 10.26 percent, to 43.

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 climbed a percentage point Friday to 82.5 percent, with 151 occupied and 32 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds remained at 183.

Friday’s report also showed that 1,208 of the hospital beds in the region — 70.9 percent — are occupied, with 495 available. The total number of beds decreased by 19, to 1,703, in Friday’s report.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose by 24, going from 3,375 in Thursday’s report to 3,399 on Friday. That rise represents an increase of 0.71 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 26, to 1,550. The number of deaths remained at 53, with 13,535 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 27, to 1,176, with 13,545 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 remained at 30.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose from 959 to 990, after 8,608 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 4,520 on Thursday to 4,644 Friday, an increase of 124 cases or 2.74 percent. The number of deaths remained at 57 for a second day. There have been 60,418 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 12,030 on Friday, an increase of 194, compared to an increase of 108, to 9,160 cases, in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 107,175 tests in Jefferson compared to 96,726 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 46 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths rose by one, to 544. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose by one, to 498. 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 19,672 cases Friday. 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 14,615, with 61 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 13,422 cases and 125 deaths, and the 50-59 age range with 13,120 cases, including 302 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 10,937. The number of deaths in that group rose by 15, to 2,296 — 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 10,291 cases reported and 600 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 6,344 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 46,122 COVID-19 tests. Commercial labs have contributed just shy of a million tests, at 997,818, for a total of 1,043,940 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 43 percent and the other one 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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