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The Louisiana Department of Health update Wednesday had its highest single-day tally of new cases, climbing more than 2,000, with the highest incidence rates by parish along the Interstate-10 corridor through Acadiana.

Today's new case total, according to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in his press conference Wednesday afternoon, includes 900 cases that were backlogged, coming from a new testing organization that just came online. Those 900 cases, he said, came from samples taken between June 16 and June 29, but are still current and are not old enough that they should be discounted from today's tally.

According to the incidence reporting data LDH released Wednesday for the week of June 16 through 24, a swath of higher incidence rates runs through Jefferson Davis (373.63 per 100,000), Acadia (241.20 per 100,000), Lafayette (207.18 per 100,000), St. Martin (259.23 per 100,000) and Iberia (246.68 per 100,000) parishes. The only spot with a higher incidence rate per 100,000 residents is in the northeast portion of the state, in East Carroll, Tensas, and Catahoula parishes. Those three, however, have far lower populations than the Acadiana parishes.

Overall, LDH reported 60,178 newly identified cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, an increase of 2,083, or 3.59 percent, from Tuesday’s total of 58,095. 

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose by 17, going from 3,113 in Tuesday’s report to 3,130 on Wednesday. That rise represents an increase of 0.55 percent. As of Monday, 108 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 Monday. 

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 rose by 18, to 799, with 84 of those patients remaining on ventilators, an increase of one. That statewide hospitalization number is still only 40 percent of the peak hospitalizations of 1,991 on April 12. In District 4, which covers Acadiana, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by two, to 126, with the number of patients on ventilators remaining at 16. That 126 number is a high for the region, topping the 125 hospitalizations on April 10.

Although there is not yet a shortage of hospital rooms or ventilators in Region 4, the patients currently occupying intensive care rooms inched higher, to 77 percent of capacity — 139 of 179 beds. Overall, 1,195 of the 1,723 available hospital beds in the region — just under 70 percent — are occupied.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose by 15, to 727, with 9,554 tests performed. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 18 to June 24, the parish had 259.23 cases reported per 100,000 population. The number of deaths remained at 26. 

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose by 51, to 748. The number of deaths remained at 44, with 9.069 tests performed in the parish. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 18 to June 24 the parish had 246.68 cases reported per 100,000 population.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose by 20, to 489, after 6,043 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 38. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 18 to June 24 the parish had 124.56 cases reported per 100,000 population.

In Lafayette Parish, the reported case count rose from 2,158 on Tuesday to 2,359 Wednesday, an increase of 201 cases. The number of deaths increased by three, to 45. There have been 41,046 tests reported in the parish.The LDH incidence map shows that from June 18 to June 24, the parish had 207.18 cases reported per 100,000 population.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish was at 9,637 on Wednesday, an increase of 148, compared to an increase of 68, to 7,919 cases, in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 89,004 tests in Jefferson compared to 72,879 in Orleans.

The more urban Orleans Parish has seen 51 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 534 as of Wednesday. In Jefferson Parish, one new death was reported, bringing the total fatalities there to 485. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 18 to June 24, Jefferson Parish had 134.55 cases reported per 100,000 population. In Orleans, that number was 63.94 per 100,000.

The 18 to 29 age group had 11,884 cases Wednesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases. The number of deaths reported in the group remained at 11. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30-39 age group was at 9,722, with 56 deaths, followed closely by the 50-59 age range with 9,392 cases, including 271 fatalities, and the 40 to 49 age group, with 9,349 cases and 110 deaths reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 8,659. The number of deaths in that group rose by 14, to 2,127 — still the largest number of fatalities for any age group by far, more than the number of deaths in all other groups combined and two-thirds of the total COVID-19 attributed deaths in the state.

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 7,680 cases reported and 552 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 3,268 cases total, with three deaths reported.

Labs in Louisiana have performed more than three-quarters of a million COVID-19 tests so far. The state’s reference laboratory has performed 35,932 COVID-19 tests. Commercial labs have contributed 716,156, for a total of 752,088 tests. 

By gender, the state’s daily report shows women making up the largest part — 56 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 42 percent and the other two percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 53 percent to 47 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of June 28, rose to 42,225. 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 making up more than half of all cases. 

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 was at 52.79 percent  Monday, with Caucasian victims making up 45.69 percent of all cases. Other races identified include Asian at 0.71 percent, other at 0.52 percent, Native American/Alaska Native at 0.13 percent and Native Hawaiin/Pacific Islander at 0.08 percent. 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 (59.98 percent), diabetes (36.65 percent), and chronic kidney disease (20.41 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (20.32 percent), obesity (19.22 percent), congestive heart failure (13.71 percent), neurological disorders (13.32 percent), pulmonary issues (12.09 percent), cancer (7.36 percent), and asthma (4.24 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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