COVID-19 cases in Iberia climb from 4 to 9

Local health care facilities are beginning to hold drive-through COVID-19 screenings, including one held Wednesday at North Lewis Elementary School by Iberia Medical Center. IMC is planning another drive-through testing event this Wednesday.

The number of identified COVID-19 cases in Iberia Parish leapt from four to nine Saturday in the latest Louisiana Department of Health update on the march of the coronavirus across the state.

That rise comes a day after St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars made an impassioned plea for residents to observe the state issued stay-at-home order. Cedars held a press conference to address an increase in the number of identified cases in the parish as well as three deaths from COVID-19. The parish currently has 13 known cases.

In St. Mary Parish, the number of cases rose by one, to seven. There have been no reported COVID-19 deaths there.

Lafayette Parish also saw its first death, announced Friday afternoon. The parish now has 48 known cases.

The rise in identified coronavirus infections comes as local parishes begin their own drive-through testing events. Iberia Medical Center held its first one Wednesday, with a second planned for this upcoming Wednesday.

The state’s reference laboratory has performed 2,694 tests so far. Commercial laboratories have added another 22,467 tests.

The rise is not only because of testing, though. The number of hospitalized patients has also grown. Currently there are 927 patients in hospital beds across the state, with 336 of them requiring ventilators to breathe. That is up from 773 patients, 270 on ventilators Friday.

As the crisis approached, the state estimated that there were 9,600 available hospital beds across the state.

The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose as well. The state is reporting 137 deaths, up from 119 on Friday, a 15 percent increase.

Statewide, the number of new cases rose from 2,746 to 3,315, an increase of 20 percent. New Orleans is at 1,298 cases, with 70 deaths so far. The Jefferson Parish case count has risen to 744, with 26 deaths.

The disease has now been identified in residents of 56 of the state’s 64 parishes.

According to LDH, if Louisiana’s number of cases continues to grow at this rate and the state is unable to flatten the curve, the New Orleans area could run out of ventilators by the first week of April. Gov. John Bel Edwards said earlier this week that the city could be out of hospital beds by mid-month.

As of Friday, LDH had identified COVID-19 clusters in eight nursing homes across the state. Seven — Chateau D’Ville in Donaldsonville, Chateau De Notre Dame, Vista Shores, Good Samaritan New Orleans and Lambeth House in New Orleans, Luling Living Center in Luling and St. James Place in Baton Rouge — have been named. In a press release, LDH said it will only share names of facilities once the proper notifications have taken place and epidemiological teams have had a chance to perform their work at the sites.

The number of cases identified in the 50-59 age range, the largest group of confirmed cases, rose 138 to 708 Saturday, up from 570 cases, and three more fatalities, bringing the total to 24. In the 40 to 49 age group, the number of cases has risen to 649 from 538, with no change in the number of deaths, 11, reported. In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 591 cases reported, up from 490, and 17 deaths, up from 13 on Friday. The 70 and above group case count rose to 558 from 491 Friday. The number of deaths in that group rose by 10, to 79 — the largest number of fatalities for any age group.

There are 491 identified cases in the 30-39 age group, up from 403, and five deaths. The 18 to 29 age group has 295 cases, up from 234, and no reported deaths. The under 18 group has 23 cases total, with one death reported.

Women continue to make up the largest part — 57 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state. Men make up 43 percent.

The breakdown of cases by parish of the patient’s residence is as follows:

• Parish under investigation - 9 cases, 1 death

• Acadia - 9 cases, 1 death

• Allen - 7 cases

• Ascension - 107 cases, 1 death

• Assumption - 8 cases

• Avoyelles - 12 cases

• Beauregard - 4 cases

• Bienville - 3 case, 1 death

• Bossier - 45 cases

• Caddo - 189 cases, 2 deaths

• Calcasieu - 28 cases, 1 death

• Catahoula - 1 case, 1 death

• Claiborne - 4 cases

• DeSoto - 21 cases, 1 death

• East Baton Rouge - 153 cases, 4 deaths

• East Carroll - 1 case

• East Feliciana - 6 cases

• Evangeline - 4 cases

• Franklin - 4 cases

• Grant - 1 case

• Iberia - 9 cases

• Iberville - 21 cases, 1 death

• Jackson - 2 cases

• Jefferson - 744 cases, 26 deaths

• Jefferson Davis - 1 case

• Lafayette - 48 cases, 1 death

• Lafourche - 34 cases, 2 deaths

• LaSalle - 2 cases

• Lincoln - 6 cases

• Livingston - 12 cases

• Madison - 1 case

• Morehouse - 2 cases

• Natchitoches - 2 cases

• Orleans - 1,298 cases, 70 deaths

• Ouachita - 34 cases, 1 death

• Plaquemines - 19 cases, 2 death

• Pointe Coupee - 2 cases

• Rapides - 37 cases, 1 death

• Richland - 2 cases

• St. Bernard - 43 cases, 2 deaths

• St. Charles - 30 cases, 2 deaths

• St. James - 48 cases, 3 death

• St. John the Baptist - 54 cases, 3 deaths

• St. Landry - 10 cases

• St. Martin - 13 cases, 3 deaths

• St. Mary - 7 cases

• St. Tammany - 134 cases, 2 deaths

• Tangipahoa - 10 cases

• Terrebonne - 26 cases, 1 death

• Union - 7 cases

• Vermilion - 3 cases, 1 death

• Vernon - 2 cases

• Washington - 10 cases, 1 death

• Webster - 9 cases, 1 death

• West Baton Rouge - 12 cases, 1 death

• West Feliciana - 4 case

• Winn - 1 case

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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