COVID-19 graphic

On Friday, Louisiana hit the second-highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus that has been recorded as the growth in cases from back-to-back holidays surges.

The LDH dashboard showed the state adding more than 100 new deaths, pushing the single-day death toll into the same territory as the high of 129 deaths reported in April. This comes in the same week that the state recorded its single highest number of new cases in a day on Wednesday, with 6,876 identified infections added. That surpassed the previous record set only a week prior, at more than 6,400.

The daily LDH update showed 3,372 new COVID-19 cases Friday. Those cases were based on 33,809 new tests, pushing the state’s total of identified cases to 341,431.

Of those, 306,442 are confirmed, with 34,989 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 Friday’s tests was just under 10 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 7,833, an increase of 105 from Thursday’s total of 7,728. Of those, 7,411 are confirmed, with 422 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 1.4 percent. The average age of fatal patients remained at 75, while the median age remained at 77.

Local numbers

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 5,262 Friday, an increase of 24. Of those, 4,917 are confirmed, with 345 probable. The number of deaths dropped by one, to 124, with 116 confirmed and eight probable. There have been 62,744 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 43.62 percent, from 9.3 percent on Dec. 23 to 13.5 percent on Dec. 30. The incidence of tests remained about the same, from 349.59 per 10,000 population to 348.18.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 4,047, an increase of 19, with 47,329 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 15.1 percent on Dec. 23 to 17.1 percent on Dec. 30, a 13.25 percent increase, while the incidence rate per 10,000 population rose from 380.45 on Dec. 23 to 460.64 on Dec. 30. The number of deaths climbed to 90, with 82 confirmed and eight probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose from 7.9 percent on Dec. 23 to 10.7 percent on Dec 30,an increase of 35.44 percent. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population increased, from 315.43 on Dec. 23 to 301.36 on Dec. 30. Total cases rose by 27, to 3,314 Friday, after 37,942 tests. Of those cases, 2,885 are confirmed, with 429 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 103, with 96 confirmed and seven probable. 

Around the state

In Lafayette Parish, the Friday case count rose by 168, to 18,179, with the number of tests rising to 235,467. The seven-day test positivity average rose from 11 percent on Dec. 23 to 15.5  percent as of Dec. 30, an increase of 40.91 percent. The incidence rate per 10,000 population dropped during the same period, from 348.05 to 375.65. The number of deaths rose by two, to 196, with 186 confirmed and 10 probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 376, to 34,491 on Friday, compared to an increase of 253, to 22,737, in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 558,385, compared to 431,941 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose to 687, with 643 confirmed and 44 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose to 705, with 678 confirmed and 27 probable.

Hospitalizations

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections showed 2,069 hospitalizations on Thursday, an increase of 36 from 2,033 on Wednesday and the highest number of hospitalized COVID patients in the state since the pandemic began. The number of patients on ventilators rose by one, to 220.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, dropped by three, to 221 Thursday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by four, to 36.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Thursday was at 79.6 percent, with 1,351 of the region’s beds occupied and 347 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,698.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was still above 90 percent Thursday, at 92.6 percent, with 151 of 163 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.

By age group

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 71,275 Friday. 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 54,986, with 104 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 49,733 cases and 237 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 49,229 cases, including 651 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 39,468 cases reported and 1,430 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 36,951. The number of deaths in that group rose to 5,376 — 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 had 39,498 cases total — 7,342 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

Seven-day average

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Dec. 30 was 260.1 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 323.2 on Dec. 23. The positivity rate among those tests rose as of Dec. 30 to 13.7 percent, up from 10.1 percent on Dec. 23. 

In Region 4, the Dec. 30 testing rate was at 385.8 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was near the state average at 13.6 percent, up from 10.6 percent on Dec. 23.

According to Thursday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 4,608,847 COVID-19 tests so far.

Gender, underlying conditions

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, 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Dec. 28, rose to 280,373. 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.

Initially, LDH reported that 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were in the Black community. That number remained at 41.27 percent as of Dec. 30, while White victims now make up 57.46 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 0.68 percent, Unknown at 0.01 percent and Other at 0.37 percent.

That data is only reported once every two weeks as of the beginning of the year, with the next update due on Jan. 13.

The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the latest report were hypertension (63.88 percent), diabetes (37.25 percent), and neurological disorders (27.34 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.42 percent), chronic kidney disease (22.05 percent), obesity (20.69 percent), congestive heart failure (16.73 percent), pulmonary issues (14.54 percent), cancer (8.71 percent), and asthma (4.07 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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