Coronavirus

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will delay moving the state into the next phase of its reopening plan for at least another two weeks.

During  press conference Tuesday afternoon, Edwards said the order keeping Louisiana in Phase Two until Aug. 7 will be signed later this week. Under the current order, Phase Two would have ended on July 24.

The latest Louisiana Department of Health update showed the state adding another 1,700 identified infections to its COVID-19 hours before Edwards spoke.

On Tuesday, LDH reported 96,583 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 1,691, or 1.78 percent, from Monday’s running total of 94,892.

Over the last week, the state’s number of identified infections grew 17.72 percent, from 82,042 last Tuesday.

Statewide, hospitalizations due to the disease rose 1.26 percent since Monday, climbing to 1,527, an increase of 19. As of Tuesday, 186 of those patients were on ventilators, down six from 192 on Monday.

For perspective, the hospitalizations statewide peaked at 1,991 on April 12, with ventilator usage peaking at 571 on April 4.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers the Acadiana region, rose from 274 on Monday to 287 Tuesday, or 4.74 percent. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by four, or 8.33 percent, to 44.

Both of those numbers eclipse the high points from earlier in the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, Region 4’s COVID-19 related hospitalizations had peaked on April 10, at 125, with ventilator use peaking on April 12 at 37.

The intensive care bed occupancy rate in Region 4 rose Tuesday to 80.07 percent, with 146 rooms occupied and 35 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds dropped by one, to 181.

Tuesday’s report also showed that 1,255 of the hospital beds in the region — 74.39 percent — are occupied, with 432 available. The total number of reported beds dropped by 16, to 1,687.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose to 3,498 on Tuesday. That rise represents an increase of 36, or 1.04 percent, from Monday’s total of 3,462. The average age of fatal patients is 74, the median age 76. As of Wednesday, 110 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 Wednesday.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose by 44, to 1,715. The number of deaths were revised downward by one, to 54, with 16,666 tests performed in the parish. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5 the parish had the second-highest incidence rate in the state, with 810.53 cases reported per 100,000 population.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose by 33, to 1,287, with 14,284 tests performed. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5, the parish had 622.89 cases reported per 100,000 population. The number of deaths rose by one, to 31.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose by 31, to 1,137, after 9,205 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 39. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5 the parish had 498.25 cases reported per 100,000 population.

In Lafayette Parish, the reported case count rose from 5,001 on Monday to 5,125 Tuesday, an increase of 124 cases or 2.48 percent. The number of deaths rose by two, to 61. There have been 65,044 tests reported in the parish.The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5, the parish had 673.03 cases reported per 100,000 population.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 151 to 12,637 on Tuesday, compared to a rise of 72, to 9,451, in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 111,900 tests in Jefferson compared to 101,481 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 42 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 546 Tuesday. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose by three, to 504. The LDH incidence map shows that from June 22 to July 5, Jefferson Parish had 339.82 cases reported per 100,000 population. In Orleans, that number was 171.61 per 100,000.

Statewide, the 18 to 29 age group total rose to 21,371 cases Monday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group rose to 13. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30-39 age group was at 15,865, with 63 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 14,576 cases and 126 deaths, and the 50-59 age range with 14,205 cases, including 310 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 11,672. The number of deaths in that group rose by 24, to 2,365 — 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 11,078 cases reported and 617 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 7,644 cases total and four reported deaths.

Labs in Louisiana have processed 1,122,962 COVID-19 tests so far. 

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 43 percent and the other one percent identified as unknown or other. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 52 percent to 48 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of July 14, rose to 53,288. 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. 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, dropping to 51.49 percent  as of July 15. Caucasian victims made up 46.92 percent of all cases. Other races identified include Asian at 0.69 percent, other at 0.51 percent, Native American/Alaska Native and unknown both at 0.12 percent and Native Hawaiin/Pacific Islander at 0.08 percent. That data is only reported once a week, updated on Wednesday.

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 (59.71 percent), diabetes (36.38 percent), and cardiac disease (20.64 percent).

Other factors included chronic kidney disease (20.37 percent), obesity (18.88 percent), neurological disorders (15.26 percent), congestive heart failure (13.92 percent), pulmonary issues (12.22 percent), cancer (7.29 percent), and asthma (4.09 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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