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According to the Louisiana Department of Health update at noon Tuesday, the state added almost 4,000 new COVID-19 cases since its report Monday.

The daily update showed 3,946 new COVID-19 cases based on 37,356 new tests, pushing the state’s total so far to 304,485.

Of those, 277,887 are confirmed, with 26,598 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 10.6 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 7,397, an increase of 61 from Monday’s total of 7,336. Of those, 7,034 are confirmed, with 363 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.83 percent. The average age of fatal patients was 75, while the median age remained at 77.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 4,642 Tuesday, an increase of 19. Of those, 4,383 are confirmed, with 259 probable. The number of deaths remained at 120, with 114 confirmed and six probable. There have been 58,052 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 11.6 percent, from 9.6 percent on Dec. 9 to 11.6 percent on Dec. 16, but the incidence of tests decreased from 332.67 per 10,000 population to 319.98.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 3,695, an increase of 87, with 44,872 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate dropped by 4.4 percent, from 13.0 percent on Dec. 9 to 14.3 percent on Dec. 16 while the incidence rate per 10,000 population rose from 393.5 on Dec. 9 to 425.21 on Dec. 16. The number of deaths rose by one, to 82, with 76 confirmed and six probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose by 16.7 percent on Dec. 16 to 7.7 percent, up from 6.6 percent on Dec. 9. The incidence rate per 10,000 population increased, from 210.95 on Dec. 9 to 227.03 on Dec. 16. Total cases rose to 2,915 Tuesday, an increase of 13, after 35,736 tests. Of those cases, 2,666 are confirmed, with 249 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths rose by one, to 102, with 96 confirmed and six probable. 

In Lafayette Parish, the Tuesday case count rose by 144, to 16,154, with the number of tests rising to 221,661. The seven-day test positivity average rose from 11.3 percent on Dec. 9 to 11.7  percent as of Dec. 16, an increase of 3.5 percent. The incidence rate per 10,000 population rose during the same period, from 367.41 to 420.13. The number of deaths rose by two, to 188, with 179 confirmed and nine probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 30,628 on Tuesday, an increase of 501, compared to an increase of 302, to 20,237, in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 530,019, compared to 404,854 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the confirmed COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose by two, to 677, with 636 confirmed and 41 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 667, with 641 confirmed and 26 probable.

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections showed 1,689 hospitalizations on Monday, an increase of 92 from 1,597 on Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by 17, to 218. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by 20 to 195 Monday, up from 175 Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators Sunday rose by one, to 19.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Monday popped back above 70 percent, to 73.5 percent, with 1,136 of the region’s beds occupied and 410 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,546.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana akso rose, to 86.7 percent Monday, with 137 of 158 beds occupied.

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 64,505 Tuesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 28. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 48,992, with 97 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 44,389 cases and 227 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 43,797 cases, including 615 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 34,883 cases reported and 1,353 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 32,860. The number of deaths in that group rose to 5,070 — 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 34,772 cases total — 6,427 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Dec. 16 was 325 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 328.3 on Dec. 9. The positivity rate among those tests rose to 9.8 percent, up from 9.2 percent on Dec. 9. 

In Region 4, the Dec. 16 numbers continued to trend worse than the state average. Although the testing rate in the region rose to 371.2 tests per 10,000 residents, the seven-day average percent positive of those tests was well above the state average at 10.4 percent, up from 10.1 percent on Dec. 9. 

According to Monday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 4,315,433 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, 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Dec. 21, rose to 247,501. 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. 23, 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 41.66 percent as of Dec. 23, while White victims now make up 57.7 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 0.35 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 (63.99 percent), diabetes (37.29 percent), and neurological disorders (27.38 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.54 percent), chronic kidney disease (22.22 percent), obesity (20.75 percent), congestive heart failure (16.8 percent), pulmonary issues (14.53 percent), cancer (8.71 percent), and asthma (4.09 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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