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The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to decrease, but intensive care beds continue to be a rare commodity across Louisiana, with all nine of the state’s health regions showing 85 percent or more of the ICU beds available already occupied, according to Friday’s data from the Louisiana Department of Health.

In its Friday COVID-19 update, the state did see the decrease in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continue, dropping to 2,254 on Thursday, a decrease of 148 from 2,402 on Wednesday. The state data also shows that the number of patients on ventilators decreased Thursday to 447, down 19 from Wednesday’s total of 466.

In Region 4, which encompasses the Acadiana area, hospitalizations dropped by three Thursday to 299, from 302 Wednesday. The region’s number of ventilator cases dropped by one, from 69 Wednesday to 68 on Thursday.

But Region 4’s ICU bed occupancy remained at 174 Thursday, with only seven beds available across the seven-parish area. That put the percentage of occupied ICU beds at 96.1 percent. 

In Region 3, which stretches from St. Mary Parish east to Lafourche and north to St. Charles, 26 of 30 ICU beds were occupied as of Thursday, but that total is down by 61 from the 96 ICU beds available prior to Ida’s passage. To the west, where Region 5 encompasses the area from Allen, Jefferson Davis and Cameron parishes to the Texas-Louisiana state line, only four of 85 reported ICU beds were available.

The overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 rose to 78.3 percent Thursday, with 377 of 1,741 beds available.

Iberia Parish had logged 11,586 COVID-19 cases as of Friday, an increase of 128 since Thursday. The parish COVID-19 death toll rose by two, to 199. In St. Martin Parish, 22 new cases were identified, bringing the total there to 7,783. The number of deaths remained at 140.

In St. Mary Parish, new cases rose to 7,910, an increase of 25, with deaths rising by two, to 191.

The state did update its seven-day test positivity rate Friday. As of Aug. 18, the percent positivity was at 14.1, down from 15.5 on Aug. 11. 

In Iberia Parish, the seven-day test positivity average was at 24.6 percent on Aug. 18, up from 24.3 percent on Aug. 11. In St. Martin Parish, the percentage remained static, at 22 percent on Aug. 18. St. Mary Parish saw an 8.75 percent drop, from 16 percent on Aug. 11 to 14.6 percent on Aug. 18.

According to Wednesday’s LDH update, the number of COVID-19 cases reported rose by 2,625 since Thursday, to 696,900. The state recorded 51 new deaths since Wednesday, bringing the total to 12,707.


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

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