COVID-19

The Louisiana Department of Health is still working to correct server issues that have prevented the state from accurately portraying the number of COVID-19 tests reported over the last two days.

On Sunday, LDH reported 37,169 cases of COVID-19 identified in the state. That is an increase of 129, or 0.35 percent, over Saturday’s total of 37,040.

That number, however, is likely inaccurate. According to its website, LDH has not yet corrected a server error that has prevented a proper accounting of commercial lab test results.

“Due to server issues, the most recent update is not inclusive of total commercial lab data,” a note on the LDH website said. “The State Lab data have not been impacted. Once resolved, LDH will update at the next noon update.”

That note first appeared with Saturday’s update.

The server error is the latest in as many weeks to affect the LDH update of COVID-19 statistics. In addition to server errors, issues with adding reports from new labs have caused numbers to fluctuate, while reassignment of data between parishes has caused some anomalies to appear, such as large increases in identified cases in certain parishes or an apparent reduction in the number of deaths from day to day in others.

The bulk of the testing in Louisiana has come through commercial laboratories. The state reference lab has processed 16,326 COVID-19 tests so far, while the state reported 299,710 tests processed through commercial labs as of Sunday, an increase of 892 over Saturday’s report.

For comparison purposes, the number of commercial lab results recorded from Thursday to Friday, the last known full report, was 5,557.

This comes at a time when LDH said it expected higher case counts in coming days while ramping up testing in group settings, like processing plants and nursing homes. 

As identified cases rise, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is continuing to trend downward, dropping by 23 to 813. The number of patients statewide on ventilators dropped by 10, to 102.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths increased by seven, going from 2,560 on Saturday to 2,567 in Sunday’s report. That rise represents an increase of 0.27 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. 

Due to the commercial testing server issues, the total number of cases remained at 388 for Iberia Parish Sunday. The number of deaths remained at 36, with only three new tests being recorded to bring that total to 3,967 tests in the parish.

In St. Mary Parish, there was one new identified case added, bringing that parish’s total to 295 after 2,641 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths in the parish remained at 29.

St. Martin Parish data remained unchanged. Total cases were at 288 with 2,858 tests performed. The number of deaths remained static at 22.

In Lafayette Parish, the reported case count remained unchanged at 659. The number of deaths remained at  23. There have been 14,435 tests reported in the parish, an increase of four from Saturday’s update.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 15 to 7,248 on Sunday, adding 124 tests, compared to a rise of four new cases in Orleans Parish to bring that total to 6,953, with only 326 new tests being recorded. Both parishes have had similar numbers of tests conducted — 40,867 in Jefferson compared to 40,638 in Orleans.

Even with similar case and test numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 67 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 500 for the third day in a row. Jefferson added one death, rising to 433 fatalities.

The number of Louisiana COVID-19 cases identified in the 50-59 age range rose to 6,898, including 230 fatalities. 

The 70 and above group case count rose to 6,532 cases, making it the age group with the largest number of identified cases. The number of deaths in that group rose to 1,714 — 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 6,197 with 96 deaths reported. There were 5,894 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, and 45 deaths. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 5,768 cases reported and 471 deaths.  

The 18 to 29 age group had 5,073 cases and nine reported deaths. The under 18 group had 807 cases total, with two deaths reported.

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 last 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 dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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