COVID-19

The Louisiana Department of Health tally of new cases for Wednesday reached almost 900, which is less than Tuesday’s 1,356 new cases but still not a good sign for the state.

What is worse is that officials said 93 percent of those cases are from community spread, not clusters or localized infections. In a statement Tuesday, the department said the current positivity rate among test subjects is 7.6 percent. Gov. John Bel Edwards has said it is time for concern when that number rises above six percent. The federal guideline is to keep it below 10 percent.

Overall, LDH reported 52,477 identified cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, an increase of 882, or 1.71 percent, from Tuesday’s total of 51,595. 

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose by 18, going from 3,021 in Tuesday’s report to 3,039 on Wednesday. That rise represents an increase of 0.6 percent. As of Monday, 113 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 dropped by 15, to 631, with 77 of those patients on ventilators, a decrease of six. In District 4, which covers Acadiana, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by one, to 79, with the number of patients on ventilators also dropping by one, to seven.

Although there is not yet a shortage of hospital rooms or ventilators in Region 4, patients currently occupy more than three-quarters — 138 of 180 — of the available intensive care hospital beds in the region, up by four rooms from Tuesday.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose by 60, to 586, with 7,447 tests performed. One of those 60 was a backlogged case. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 11 to June 17, the parish had 358.07 cases reported per 100,000 population. The number of deaths remained at 26. 

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose by four, to 535. The number of deaths remained at 42, with 7,553 tests performed in the parish. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 11 to June 17 the parish had 69.07 cases reported per 100,000 population.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose by five, to 410, after 5,119 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths rose by one, to 37. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 11 to June 17 the parish had 50.23 cases reported per 100,000 population.

In Lafayette Parish, the reported case count rose by 80 to 1,654 Wednesday, with 20 of those cases from a backlog of results. The number of deaths remained at 36. There have been 35,187 tests reported in the parish. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 11 to June 17, the parish had 123.98 cases reported per 100,000 population.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish was reported up 115, at 9,003 on Wednesday, compared to a rise of 74, to 7,610 cases, in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 74,764 tests in Jefferson compared to 67,020 in Orleans.

The more urban Orleans Parish has seen 50 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish reported deaths remained at 529 for the fourth day. Deaths in Jefferson remained at 479. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 11 to June 17, Jefferson Parish had 102.75 cases reported per 100,000 population. In Orleans, that number was 41.94 per 100,000.

The 18 to 29 age group had 9,250 cases Wednesday, a jump of 303 from 8,947 cases on Tuesday and more than a third of the daily total. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases. The number of deaths reported in the group remained at 10. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range rose by 85, to 8,543, including 265 fatalities, followed closely by the 30-39 age group, with an increase of 126 cases to 8,495 and 55 deaths. In the 40 to 49 age group, the number of cases rose by 107 to 8,335 with 109 deaths reported. 

The 70 and above group case count rose by 76, to 8,059. The number of deaths in that group rose to 2,056 — 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 7,091 cases reported and 542 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 2,484 cases total, with three deaths reported.

Louisiana has performed more than 600,000 COVID-19 tests so far. The state’s reference laboratory has performed 31,978 COVID-19 tests. Commercial labs have contributed 616,527, for a total of 648,505 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 21, rose to 39,792. 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. 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 53.11 percent  Monday, with Caucasian victims making up 45.32 percent of all cases. Other races identified include Asian at 0.74 percent, other at 0.57 percent, Native American/Alaska Native at 0.10 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 (60.09 percent), diabetes (36.83 percent), and cardiac disease (20.39 percent).

Other factors included chronic kidney disease (20.19 percent), obesity (19.42 percent), congestive heart failure (13.74 percent), neurological disorders (12.67 percent), pulmonary issues (11.93 percent), cancer (7.35 percent), and asthma (4.28 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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