COVID-19 sign

A sign at Ricky Mo's shop on Center Street in New Iberia lays out the ground rules for customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Louisiana Department of Health showed another increase in COVID-19 cases Friday, adding 421 new identified infections to the state’s tally.

That increase comes a day after LDH added testing records going back to March 25 from 23 new labs that had not been previously counted, which added 1,188 cases. 

Friday’s update brings the total identified COVID-19 infections in the state to 36,925. That marks a 1.15 percent increase over Thursday’s total of 36,504. According to an LDH press release Thursday, the department expects higher case counts in the coming days while ramping up testing in group settings, like processing plants and nursing homes. 

As identified cases continue to rise, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is continuing to trend downward, dropping by 17 to 867. The number of patients statewide on ventilators also went down, dropping by three to 104.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths increased by 39, going from 2,506 on Thursday to 2,545 in Friday’s report. That rise represents an increase of 1.56 percent. As of May 17, 123 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. 

In Iberia Parish, the total number of cases rose by four to 388. The number of deaths rose by one, to 36. There have been 3,963 tests logged in the parish.

St. Mary Parish saw an increase of six cases, to 294, after 2,591 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths in the parish remained at 29.

In St. Martin Parish, the number of known cases rose by one to 288 with 2,858 tests performed. The number of deaths remained static, at 22.

In Lafayette Parish, the case count climbed by six to 637. The number of deaths remained at  23. There have been 14,376 tests performed in the parish.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 57 to 7,232 on Friday, compared to a rise of 40 new cases in Orleans Parish to bring that total to 6,944. Both parishes have had similar numbers of tests conducted — 40,588 in Jefferson compared to 40,149 in Orleans.

Even with similar case and test numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 68 more deaths than its suburban neighbor, but neither saw any new deaths overnight. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 500. Jefferson remained at 432 fatalities.

The number of Louisiana COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range rose to 6,871 — including 224 fatalities. 

The 70 and above group case count rose to 6,498 cases, making it the age group with the largest number of identified cases. The number of deaths in that group rose to 1,704 — 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 40 to 49 age group, the number of cases has risen to 6,146 with 94 deaths reported. There were 5,842 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, and 45 deaths. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 5,749 cases reported and 467 deaths.  

The 18 to 29 age group had 5,015 cases and nine reported deaths. The under 18 group had 804 cases total, with two deaths reported.

The state reference lab has processed 14,438 COVID-19 tests so far. There have been 297,370 tests processed through commercial labs, for a total of 311,808 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 40 percent and the other five percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 54.40 percent to 45.6 percent for women.

The state resumed reporting information on the number of infections among nursing home residents and staff on Monday, as well as the number of deaths among residents. In Iberia Parish, the data showed only one home, Consolata Nursing Home, had no reported infections among its 63 residents, although it had one employee reported to have tested positive for COVID-19. 

At the other end of the scale, New Iberia Manor South reported 52 of its 53 residents tested positive for COVID-19, along with 21 staff members. Thirteen of the facility’s residents have died from the disease. 

The state had reported the number of clusters of infections at specific nursing homes and long-term care facilities until April 1, when it stopped. Instead, LDH began reporting aggregate totals of infected facilities and residents. Those reports were also limited to twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday.

This is also the first time LDH has reported the number of COVID-19 infections among the staff at these facilities. The report is scheduled to be updated weekly.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of May 17, rose to 26,249. 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 rising, but not to the point it had been a month ago. 

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 dropped to 55.33 percent  Monday from 56.07 percent a week ago. 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 (59.39 percent), diabetes (36.65 percent), and cardiac disease (20.92 percent). Other factors included chronic kidney disease (20.10 percent), obesity (19.69 percent), congestive heart failure (12.90 percent), pulmonary issues (11.71 percent), neurological disorders (8.43 percent), cancer (7.57 percent), and asthma (4.15 percent).


Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at

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