COVID GRAPHIC

After a lull initially attributed to the closing of testing sites over the Thanksgiving holiday, Tuesday’s Louisiana Department of Health COVID-19 update showed more than 5,000 new cases identified.

The Nov. 30 update showed a drastic reduction in testing and in new cases. When asked on Monday, an LDH spokesman said that was due to the holiday break in testing. On Tuesday, however, the LDH portal contained a note saying that the drop in cases was due to a processing error, and that Tuesday’s update also contained data reported on Nov. 29 and 30.

The daily COVID-19 data Tuesday showed the state adding 5,326 new cases, with 57,646 new tests recorded. That raised the total identified infections so far in the state to 237,740. Of those, 224,410 are confirmed, with 13,330 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 9.2 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 6,455, an increase of 35 from 6,420 on Monday. Of those, 6,194 are confirmed, with 261  considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.54 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 75, the median age 76.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Nov. 18 was 295.9 tests per 10,000 residents. The positivity rate among those tests was 8.1 percent, up from 7.5 percent on Nov. 11. The last time the state’s seven-day average was that high was on Aug. 12, when it was at 8.5 percent.

In Region 4 overall, the Nov. 18 numbers were worse. The testing rate in the region was marginally above the state average, at 311.9 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests, however, was well above the state average at 11.2 percent, up almost a full percentage point from 10.3 percent on Nov. 11. That is the highest it has been since Aug. 5, when it was 12.9 percent.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 3,772 Tuesday, an increase of 81. Of those, 3,643 are confirmed, with 129 probable. The number of deaths rose by one, to 107, 104 confirmed and three probable. There have been 44,877 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity dropped from 11.3 percent on Nov. 11 to 8.7 percent on Nov. 18.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 2,796, an increase of 75, with 37,342 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 11.8 percent to 12.9 percent on Nov. 18. The number of deaths rose by one, to 72, with 67 confirmed and five probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate dropped on Nov. 18 to 5.2 percent, from 8.6 percent Nov. 11. Total cases rose by 26 to 2,389 after 28,122 tests. Of those cases, 2,280 are confirmed, with 109 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 95, with 89 confirmed and six probable. 

In Lafayette Parish, the Monday case count rose by 317 to 12,430, with the number of tests rising to 186,600. The seven-day test positivity average rose from 10.2 percent on Nov. 11 to 11.8 percent as of Nov. 18. The number of deaths rose to 152, with 151 confirmed and one probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 22,609 on Tuesday, an increase of 551, compared to 16,077 in Orleans Parish, an increase of 239. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 434,529 in Orleans compared to 319,768 tests in Jefferson.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen five more confirmed deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 648, with 609 confirmed and 39 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 629, with 604 confirmed and 25 probable. 

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections showed 1,280 hospitalizations on Monday, an increase of 39 from 1,241 on Sunday. That is the highest it has been since Aug. 13. The number of patients on ventilators rose by three, to 128. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by 10, to 220 on Monday, up from 210 on Sunday. That is the highest it hs been since Aug. 10. The number of patients on ventilators Sunday rose to 22, up one from 21 on Sunday.

Monday’s data also shows that intensive care unit beds are still in short supply across Region 4. The overall intensive care bed occupancy rate in Region 4 was at 92.4 percent Monday. There were 145 beds occupied and 12 ICU beds still open of the 157 ICU beds available.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 was at 78.2 percent, with 1,212 of the region’s beds occupied and 338 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,550.

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 51,965 Tuesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group rose by one, to 27. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 37,980, with 92 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 34,806 cases and 204 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 34,198 cases, including 543 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 26,933 cases reported and 1,180 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 26,165. The number of deaths in that group rose to 4,403 — 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 25,474 cases total — 4,764 age 4 and under — and six reported deaths.

According to Tuesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed at least 3,552,899 COVID-19 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 44 percent and 1 percent unknown. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Nov. 23, rose to 192,488. 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 Nov. 25, 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 43.6 percent as of Nov. 25, while White victims now make up 55.03 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, and Other at 0.45 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 (49.56 percent), diabetes (29.29 percent), and neurological disorders (21.24 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (20.34 percent), chronic kidney disease (17.2 percent), obesity (15.81 percent), congestive heart failure (12.94 percent), pulmonary issues (11.1 percent), cancer (6.63 percent), and asthma (3.26 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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