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On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health update showed the state adding 2,617 new COVID-19 cases since its Monday update.

The LDH dashboard also showed Louisiana adding 36,719 new tests overnight. That raised the total identified infections so far in the state to 272,276. Of those, 252,459 are confirmed, with 19,817 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 Tuesday’s tests is 7.1 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 6,895, an increase of 50 after some corrections to eliminate duplicate reports. Of those, 6,577 are confirmed, with 318 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.73 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 73, the median age 75.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 4,252 Tuesday, an increase of 60. Of those, 4,044 are confirmed, with 208 probable. The number of deaths rose by one, to 114, with 111 confirmed and three probable. There have been 52,393 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 21 percent, from 10.5 percent on Nov. 25 to 12.7 percent on Dec. 2.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 3,243, an increase of 58, with 41,252 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate dropped by 4.4 percent, from 13.5 percent on Nov. 25 to 12.9 percent on Dec. 2. The number of deaths remained at 75, with 70 confirmed and five probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose on Dec. 2 to 6.5 percent, from 5.9 percent on Nov. 25. Total cases rose to 2,647 Tuesday, after 32,768 tests. Of those cases, 2,494 are confirmed, with 153 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths rose by one, to 98, with 92 confirmed and six probable. 

In Lafayette Parish, the Tuesday case count rose by 163, to 14,432, with the number of tests rising to 204,258. The seven-day test positivity average rose from 10.9 percent on Nov. 25 to 13 percent as of Dec. 2. The number of deaths rose by four, to 171, with 165 confirmed and six probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 27,128 on Tuesday, compared to an increase to 18,179 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 488,510, compared to 368,623 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish has surpassed the confirmed COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose to 656, with 616 confirmed and 40 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 643, with 617 confirmed and 26 probable. 

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections showed 1,597 hospitalizations on Monday, an increase of 70 from 1,527 on Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by five, to 152. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by nine, to 208 Monday, up from 199 Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators Monday rose by three, to 24.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 was at 78.8 percent, with 1,232 of the region’s beds occupied and 332 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,564.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana remained above 90 percent Monday, with 148 of 162 beds occupied, or 91.4 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.

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 58,613 Monday. 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 43,512, with 94 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 39,622 cases and 217 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 39,137 cases, including 576 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 30,891 cases reported and 1,256 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 29,702. The number of deaths in that group rose to 4,718 — 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 30,523 cases total — 5,607 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Dec. 2 was 238.2 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 343.2 on Nov. 25. The positivity rate among those tests rose to 10.7 percent, up 2.9 percent from 7.8 percent on Nov. 25. The last time the state’s seven-day average was that high was on July 29, when it was at 12 percent.

In Region 4, the Dec. 2 numbers continued to trend worse than the state average. Although the testing rate in the region dropped to a point better than the state overall, at 251.1 tests per 10,000 residents, the seven-day average percent positive of those tests was well above the state average at 12.5 percent, up 1.8 percent from 10.7 percent on Nov. 25. The last time the region had a weekly positivity rate that high was on Aug. 5, when it was at 12.9 percent.

According to Monday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed at least 3,974,519 COVID-19 tests so far. 

By gender, the state’s weekly report shows women making up the largest part — 55 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 44 percent and 1 percent unknown. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Dec. 7, rose to 217,930. 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. 9, 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 42.74 percent as of Dec. 2, while White victims now make up 55.83 percent of all fatal cases. 

The Native American/Alaskan Native total was at 0.11 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.68 percent, Unknown at 0.12 percent and Other at 0.41 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 (63.01 percent), diabetes (37.68 percent), and neurological disorders (27.35 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.26 percent), chronic kidney disease (22.13 percent), obesity (20.69 percent), congestive heart failure (16.42 percent), pulmonary issues (14.58 percent), cancer (8.53 percent), and asthma (4.18 percent). Only 4.3 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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