If there are still people in the public who are not concerned about the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant in our communities, Wednesday’s update from the Louisiana Department of Health should be enough to change their mindset.
The seven-day test positivity rates released Wednesday show the Teche Area numbers rising rapidly. In Iberia Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose from 16 percent on July 21, which was adjusted upward from the 15.6 percent originally reported, to 23 percent on July 28. That marks a seven-point rise in one week.
All three parishes are beyond the state average, which is at 15.4 percent as of July 28.
It is also important to remember that the state’s seven-day positivity rates are delayed by one week. So the numbers released today do not include the first days of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ reinstated mask mandate.
In other words, next week will probably be worse.
In St. Martin Parish, the seven-day average positivity rose 5.4 points over the same period, from 20.5 to 24 percent. St. Mary Parish saw a 18.63 percent increase, from 16.1 percent to 19.1 percent.
That increase in test positivity is being reported as the state’s hospitals continue to fill up. The state saw its highest number of COVID-19 cases in hospitals yesterday, at 2,069. Today the number of hospitalizations blew through that number, rising by 135 to 2,247.
The state also added another 44 deaths Wednesday, raising the total to 11,129.
According to the LDH statistics, there were 4,778 new COVID-19 cases reported to the state Wednesday. The daily update showed 224 of the hospitalized patients on ventilators as of Monday, an increase of two and the highest that number has been since Jan. 20.
Statewide, 90 percent of new infections and 84 percent of deaths between July 21 and July 28 and 90 percent of the state’s current hospitalizations were among unvaccinated patients. Region 4, which encompasses Acadiana, continues to post high numbers as well. Hospitalizations as of Tuesday were at 293, the highest they have been since the height of the pandemic last July and an increase of five overnight. That is up from 211 only a week prior, and showing no signs of slowing. Of those cases, 31 are on ventilators, a decrease of one but still the highest since Jan. 13.
Region 4’s ICU beds are still full, according to the latest state data. As of Tuesday, there were only eight of the 151 beds across the region available, for an occupancy rate of 94.7 percent. The overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 is at 79.5 percent, with 346 of 1,691 available.
As a result of the increase in community spread of the virus, The Daily Iberian will require masks to be worn during its upcoming Best of the Teche event and recommend all attendees to observe social distance rules when possible. Masks will be provided at the door for those who do not bring their own.