COVID-19 graphic

On Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health update showed the state adding more than 3,800 new COVID-19 cases since its Wednesday update.

It also showed the Acadiana region's hospitalization rate rising.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 was above 80 percent, at 82.2 percent, with 1,296 of the region’s beds occupied and 281 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,577.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana remained above 90 percent Wednesday, with 151 of 166 beds occupied, or 90.96 percent.

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.

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections showed 1,602 hospitalizations on Wednesday, an increase of 18 from 1,584 on Tuesday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by two, to 169. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by eight, to 225 Wednesday, up from 217 Tuesday. The number of patients on ventilators Wednesday remained at 24.

The LDH dashboard showed Louisiana adding 3,851 identified cases out of 31,322 new tests overnight. That raised the total identified infections so far in the state to 279,321. Of those, 257,483 are confirmed, with 21,838 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 Wednesday’s tests is 12.3 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 6,964, an increase of 31 from Tuesday’s total of 6,933. Of those, 6,637 are confirmed, with 327 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.45 percent. The average age of fatal patients bumped slightly higher in Wednesday’s update, to 75, while the median age rose to 77.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 4,321 Thursday, an increase of 30. Of those, 4,105 are confirmed, with 216 probable. The number of deaths remained at 114, with 111 confirmed and three probable. There have been 53,711 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity dropped by 23 percent, from 11.3 percent on Dec. 2 to 8.7 percent on Dec. 9, but the incidence of tests increased from 270.65 per 10,000 population to 332.67.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 3,330, an increase of 36, with 41,996 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate dropped by 4.4 percent, from 13.5 percent on Dec. 2 to 12.9 percent on Dec. 9 while the incidence rate per 10,000 population rose from 303.99 on Dec. 2 to 393.5 on Dec. 9. The number of deaths remained at 78, with 73 confirmed and five probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate dropped by 1.5 percent on Dec. 9 to 6.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent on Dec. 25. The incidence rate per 10,000 population increased, from 138.63 on Dec. 2 to 210.95 on Dec. 9. Total cases rose to 2,690 Thursday, an increase of 43, after 33,501 tests. Of those cases, 2,525 are confirmed, with 165 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 99, with 93 confirmed and six probable. 

In Lafayette Parish, the Thursday case count rose by 228, to 14,660, with the number of tests rising to 206,415. The seven-day test positivity average rose from 13.4 percent on Dec. 2 to 11.5  percent as of Dec. 9, a decrease of 14.2 percent. The incidence rate per 10,000 population rose during the same period, from 294.09 to 367.41. The number of deaths rose by one, to 173, with 167 confirmed and six probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 27,741 on Wednesday, compared to an increase to 18,498 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 488,510, compared to 495,573 tests in Jefferson.

Orleans Parish has once again surpassed the confirmed COVID-19 death toll in Jefferson Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose to 662, with 622 confirmed and 40 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose by one, to 644, with 618 confirmed and 26 probable.

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 59,838 Thursday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 27. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 44,729, with 94 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 40,715 cases and 220 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 40,112 cases, including 580 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 31,709 cases reported and 1,273 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 30,322. The number of deaths in that group rose to 4,763 — 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, the smallest demographic segment, had 31,618 cases total — 5,810 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Dec. 9 was 322.1 tests per 10,000 residents, up from 263.8 on Dec. 2. The positivity rate among those tests dropped to 9.3 percent, down 9.7 percent from 10.2 percent on Dec. 2. 

In Region 4, the Dec. 2 numbers continued to trend worse than the state average. Although the testing rate in the region rose to 344.7 tests per 10,000 residents, the seven-day average percent positive of those tests was well above the state average at 10.2 percent, down 18.4 percent from 12.5 percent on Dec. 2. 

According to Thursday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed more than 4 million — at least 4,042,993 — COVID-19 tests so far. 

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, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Dec. 14, rose to 232,725. 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.

On Dec. 16, the weekly update of fatalities by race showed the percentage of COVID-19 deaths among White victims continued to climb. 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 42.34 percent as of Dec. 16, while White victims now make up 56.38 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 0.67 percent and Other at 0.39 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 (64.17 percent), diabetes (37.52 percent), and neurological disorders (27.39 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.44 percent), chronic kidney disease (22.42 percent), obesity (20.83 percent), congestive heart failure (16.76 percent), pulmonary issues (14.7 percent), cancer (9.04 percent), and asthma (4.11 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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