COVID-19 update

The latest Louisiana Department of Health update showed the state adding more than 3,100 identified infections to its COVID-19 total Monday, although almost 1,600 of those are backlogged cases.

That comes after the state added more than 3,100 cases Sunday, covering updates for Saturday and Sunday. An LDH spokesman said the Saturday updates would be discontinued to allow the staff at LDH some time off.

“We know this is a long-term pandemic and need to be able to sustain our workforce,” said Sean Ellis, an LDH public information officer.

On Monday, LDH reported 94,892 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 3,116, or 3.47 percent, from Sunday’s running total of 91,706. Of those additions, 1,583 were said to be backlogged cases from samples taken between May 18 and July 13. Taking those out of the daily total, the state claims 1,533 new cases added Monday, or 1.64 percent.

It is not clear how many of those samples were taken at the most recent end of that timeframe. Test results from samples taken in the last 10 days, say back to July 10, would normally be counted as current, not backlogged. Over the last week, the state’s number of identified infections grew 18.87 percent, from 79,827 last Sunday.

Statewide, hospitalizations due to the disease rose 2.65 percent since Sunday, climbing to 1,508, an increase of 39. As of Monday, 192 of those patients were on ventilators, up by 15 from 177 on Sunday.

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 266 on Sunday to 274 Monday, or 3.01 percent. The number of patients on ventilators rose by six, or 14.29 percent, to 48.

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 dropped Monday to 80.2 percent, with 146 rooms occupied and 36 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds dropped to 182.

Monday’s report also showed that 1,210 of the hospital beds in the region — 71 percent — are occupied, with 493 available. The total number of beds remained at 1,703.

The state cumulative tally of COVID-19 deaths rose to 3,462 on Monday. That rise represents an increase of 29, or 0.84 percent, from Sunday’s total of 3,433. 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 64, to 1,671. The number of deaths rose by one, to 54, with 14,269 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 44, to 1,254, with 14,094 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 remained at 30.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases rose to 1,106, after 9,110 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 4,848 on Sunday to 5,001 Monday, an increase of 153 cases or 3.16 percent. The number of deaths remained at 59 for a second day. There have been 63,791 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 was at 12,486 on Monday, compared to 9,379 cases in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish’s testing has been more aggressive than that in Orleans — 110,531 tests in Jefferson compared to 100,113 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 45 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths were at 546 Monday. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths was at 501. 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 20,995 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 12. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30-39 age group was at 15,593, with 63 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 14,326 cases and 125 deaths, and the 50-59 age range with 13,971 cases, including 306 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 11,445. The number of deaths in that group rose to 2,341 — 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 10,891 cases reported and 611 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 7,501 cases total and four reported deaths.

Labs in Louisiana have processed 1,102,924 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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