COVID-19 update

Wednesday’s statewide update from the Louisiana Department of Health shows an additional 278 COVID-19 identified cases, bringing the state's total to 35,316.

That marks a 0.79 percent increase over Tuesday’s total of 35,038 cases.

Hospitalizations are continuing to trend downward. The overall number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped under 1,000 Wednesday, dipping by 73 to 931.That marks a 7.27 percent decrease.

The number of patients statewide on ventilators also went down, dropping by two to 110.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths increased by 27, going from 2,458 on Tuesday to 2,485 in Tuesday’s report. That rise represents an increase of 1.1 percent. As of May 17, 123 of those deaths were still classified as probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. The number of pending cases is updated each week on Monday. 

In Iberia Parish, the total number of cases rose by one to 359. The number of deaths remained at 35. There have been 3,623 tests logged in the parish.

St. Mary Parish saw an increase of four cases, to 281, after 2,449 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths in the parish remained at 29.

In St. Martin Parish, the number of known cases remained at 275 with 2,658 tests performed. The number of deaths also remained static, at 22.

In Lafayette Parish, the case count climbed by two to 607. The number of deaths remained at  23. There have been 13,239 tests performed in the parish.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 33 to 7,128 on Tuesday, compared to a rise of 15 new cases in Orleans Parish to bring that total to 6,884. Both parishes have had similar numbers of tests conducted — 38,930 in Jefferson compared to 38,347 in Orleans.

Even with similar case and test numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 69 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths climbed by six to 500 overnight. Jefferson saw its death toll rise by two, for a total of 431 fatalities.

The current number of Louisiana COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range, the largest group of confirmed cases, rose to 6,586 — including 218 fatalities. 

The 70 and above group case count rose to 6,473 cases. The number of deaths in that group rose to 1,663 — 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.

In the 40 to 49 age group, the number of cases has risen to 5,907 with 94 deaths reported. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 5,676 cases reported and 455 deaths.  

There were 5,639 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, and 44 deaths. The 18 to 29 age group had 4,402 cases and nine reported deaths. The under 18 group had 633 cases total, with two deaths reported.

The state reference lab has processed 12,795 COVID-19 tests so far. There have been 273,175 tests processed through commercial labs, for a total of 285,970 tests so far.

By gender, the state’s daily report shows women making up the largest part — 55 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 40 percent and the other five percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 54.40 percent to 45.6 percent for women.

The information released Monday on the number of infections among nursing home residents and staff, as well as the number of deaths among residents, showed only one home, Consolata Nursing Home, had no reported infections among its 63 residents. It had one employee reported to have tested positive for COVID-19. 

At the other end of the scale, New Iberia Manor South reported 52 of its 53 residents tested positive for COVID-19, along with 21 staff members. Thirteen of the facility’s residents have died from the disease. 

Overall, Iberia Parish has 336 residents reported in its licensed long-term care facilities. Of those residents, 163 have tested positive for COVID-19. The parish has seen 28 deaths among the nursing home population as of Monday’s report.

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.

This is also the first time LDH has reported the number of COVID-19 infections among the staff at these facilities. There are 57 infected employees across the five facilities. The data does not report if any of the nursing home employees have died from the disease.

The report is scheduled to be updated every week.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of May 17, rose to 26,249. 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 again dropping slightly. 

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 dropped to 55.33 percent  Monday from 56.07 percent a week ago. 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 (59.39 percent), diabetes (36.65 percent), and cardiac disease (20.92 percent). Other factors included chronic kidney disease (20.10 percent), obesity (19.69 percent), congestive heart failure (12.90 percent), pulmonary issues (11.71 percent), neurological disorders (8.43 percent), cancer (7.57 percent), and asthma (4.15 percent).


Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at

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