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Friday’s daily report on COVID-19 data from the Louisiana Department of Health added 863 new cases to the state's total as the national case count crossed the 8 million mark.

The new confirmed COVID-19 cases raise the total identified infections so far in the state to 174,638.

The state added 19,645 new test results Friday, making the rough positivity rate for those 863 tests 4.39 percent.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Oct. 9, the last date reported, was 27.58 tests per 10,000 residents. The positivity rate among those tests was 4.54 percent.

In Region 4, the Oct. 9 testing rate was well below the state average, at 21.38 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests as of Oct. 9 was above the state average, at 5.1 percent.

According to the Friday update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 5,527, up from 5,507 on Thursday, an increase of 20. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.36 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 75, the median age 76. As of Oct. 14, 200 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 was at 3,029 Friday. The number of deaths remained at 93, with 34,466 tests performed in the parish. The LDH latest two-week incidence map update showed that the parish’s positive test rate rose 9.2 percent, from 107.13 cases reported per 100,000 population on Sept. 23 to 117 per 100,000 on Sept. Oct. 7.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases was at 2,152, with 30,389 tests performed. The LDH two-week incidence map shows that on Oct. 7, St. Martin Parish had 83.92 cases reported per 100,000 population, a 36.4 percent increase from 61.54 per 100,000 on Sept. 23. The number of deaths remained at 61.

In St. Mary Parish, total cases were at 1,990 after 21,195 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths was at 83. The LDH incidence map shows that on Oct. 7 the parish had 116.53 cases reported per 100,000 population, down 39.7 percent from 162.74 on Sept. 23.

In Lafayette Parish, the Friday case count rose to 9,241, with the number of tests rising to 146,774. The number of deaths remained at 136. The LDH incidence map shows that the parish had 101.33 cases reported per 100,000 population on Oct. 7, down 15.5 percent from 119.86 on Sept. 23.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 18,252 on Friday, compared to 13,150 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 236,063 tests in Jefferson compared to 282,495 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen nine more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths were at 589. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths was at 580. The LDH two-week incidence map shows that on Oct. 7, Jefferson Parish had 114.5 cases reported per 100,000 population, up 5.7 percent from 108.28 on Sept. 23. In Orleans, that number was 93.6 per 100,000 on Oct. 7, down 5.9 percent from 99.49 on Sept. 23.

The LDH reporting of data on hospitalizations due to the disease is still running 24 hours behind. On Friday, the state reported 557 hospitalizations as of Thursday, a decrease of nine  from 566 on Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by one, to 60 Thursday. That is down from 61 on Wednesday. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, was down two, to 47 Thursday. The number of patients on ventilators Thursday rose by one, to four.

The overall intensive care bed occupancy rate in Region 4 was still high Thursday at 87.6 percent, with 141 beds occupied and 20 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds available was at 161. That is still down from the count of active ICU beds before Hurricane Laura, which hovered above 180.

Thursday's data also showed that hospital bed occupancy was up slightly in Region 4, with 1,221 — 80.4 percent — of the region’s beds occupied and 297 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,518.

When compared by age group, the number of cases in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 38,866 Friday. 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, back to 24. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 28,069, with 80 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 25,745 cases and 178 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 254,236 cases, including 477 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 20,104. The number of deaths in that group rose to to 3,757 — 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 60 to 69 age group, there were 19,846 cases reported and 1,006 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 16,561 cases total and five reported deaths.

According to Friday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed at least 2,562,564 COVID-19 tests so far. 

The state has also started tracking possible cases, which is the number of individuals with a positive test detecting SARS-CoV-2 antigens. That number was 3,008 as of Oct. 14. According to an LDH spokesman, individuals initially identified as having a positive antigen test who are later identified as having a positive confirmatory test will be removed from the probable case count and added to the cumulative case count.

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, 52 percent to 48 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Oct. 14, rose to 161,792. 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 Oct. 14, 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 45.61 percent as of Oct. 7, while White victims now make up 52.99 percent of all fatal cases. 

The Native American/Alaskan Native total rose slightly to 0.11 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.67 percent and Other at 0.49 percent.

The number of Black deaths is still disproportionate to the demographics of the state’s population. African Americans make up less than 40 percent of Louisiana’s populace.

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 (52.02 percent), diabetes (30.99 percent), and cardiac disease (20.54 percent).

Other factors included neurological disorders (19.53 percent), chronic kidney disease (18.06 percent), obesity (16.6 percent), congestive heart failure (13.27 percent), pulmonary issues (11.33 percent), cancer (6.63 percent), and asthma (3.39 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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