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The intensive care unit capacity in Acadiana ticked a tenth of a percent higher Thursday as occupancy in the region to the west also jumped higher.

In Louisiana Department of Health Region 4, the ICU occupancy rate went from 97.4 percent to 97.5 percent, with 156 0f 160 beds occupied. That is an increase from Wednesday’s numbers, when 152 of 156 were full.

In Region 5, which covers the parishes between Accadiana and the Texas state line, ICU occupancy is also rising. Across that area, there are currently 64 occupied ICU beds and seven open out of 71 total. The occupancy rate on Wednesday was at 85.7 percent. On Thursday, it was 90.1 percent.

The occupancy rate is based on all cases, not just COVID-19 cases. But the burden of additional patient load affects the ability of hospitals to serve all patients, especially in critical care situations.

The LDH reporting on hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections showed 1,357 hospitalizations on Thursday, an increase of 32 from 1,325 on Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by 12, to 154. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, dropped by five, to 221 on Thursday, down from 226 on Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators Thursday remained at 25.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 was at 83.5 percent, with 1,312 of the region’s beds occupied and 260 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,572.

On Friday, the LDH update showed the state adding 3,102 new COVID-19 cases with 26,676 new tests recorded. That raised the total identified infections so far in the state to 247,177. Of those, 232,479 are confirmed, with 14,698 listed as possible cases.

According to an LDH spokesman, people initially identified as having a positive antigen test who are later identified as having a positive confirmatory test will be removed from the possible case count and added to the cumulative case count.

The rough positivity rate for Friday’s tests is 11.6 percent.

According to the update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 6,548, an increase of 24 from 6,524 on Thursday. Of those, 6,274 are confirmed, with 274  considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. 

That rise represents an increase of 0.36 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 73, the median age 75.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Nov. 25 was 330.6 tests per 10,000 residents. The positivity rate among those tests remained at 7.7 percent, the same as it was on Nov. 11. The last time the state’s seven-day average was that high was on Aug. 12, when it was at 8.5 percent.

In Region 4 overall, the Nov. 25 numbers were slightly lower but still worse than the state average. The testing rate in the region dropped to 297.8 tests per 10,000 residents, while the seven-day average percent positive of those tests was well above the state average at 10.8 percent, down from 11.2 percent on Nov. 18.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 3,862 Friday, an increase of 30. Of those, 3,717 are confirmed, with 145 probable. The number of deaths remained at 110, 107 confirmed and three probable. There have been 46,065 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 32.9 percent, from 8.7 percent on Nov. 18 to 11.3 percent on Nov. 25.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 2,879, an increase of 34, with 38,320 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose by a tenth of a percent, from 11.2 percent on Nov. 18 to 11.3 percent on Nov. 25. The number of deaths remained at 73, with 68 confirmed and five probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose on Nov. 25 to 6.2 percent, from 5.1 percent on Nov. 18. Total cases rose to 2,441, an increase of 15, after 29,269 tests. Of those cases, 2,327 are confirmed, with 114 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths was at 96, with 90 confirmed and six probable. 

In Lafayette Parish, the Friday case count rose by 203 to 12,877, with the number of tests rising to 190,960. The seven-day test positivity average dropped from 11.8 percent on Nov. 18 to 10.9 percent as of Nov. 25. The number of deaths rose Friday to 157, with 154 confirmed and three probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose by 260 to 24,588 on Friday, compared to an increase of 153, to 16,733 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 454,898 in Orleans compared to 340,189 tests in Jefferson.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen three more confirmed deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths rose by one to 649, with 609 confirmed and 40 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 631, with 606 confirmed and 25 probable. 

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 53,972 Friday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 27. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 39,510, with 92 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 36,143 cases and 207 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 35,506 cases, including 550 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 27,964 cases reported and 1,195 deaths. This age group has the second-highest number of deaths, behind only the 70 and above demographic group.

The 70 and above group case count was at 27,071. The number of deaths in that group rose to 4,471 — still the largest number of fatalities for any age group by far, more than the number of deaths in all other groups combined and more than two-thirds of the total COVID-19 attributed deaths in the state.

The under 18 group, the smallest demographic segment, had 26,787 cases total — 4,961 age 4 and under — and six reported deaths.

According to Tuesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed at least 3,672,682 COVID-19 tests so far. 

By gender, the state’s daily report shows women making up the largest part — 55 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 44 percent and 1 percent unknown. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Nov. 30, rose to 202,891. 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.

On Dec. 2, the weekly update of fatalities by race showed the percentage of COVID-19 deaths among White victims continued to climb. Initially, LDH reported that 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were in the Black community. That number has since dropped to 43.13 percent as of Dec. 2, while White victims now make up 55.49 percent of all fatal cases. 

The Native American/Alaskan Native total was at 0.11 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.68 percent, Unknown at 0.05 percent and Other at 0.42 percent.

That data is only reported once a week, updated on Wednesday.

The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the latest report were hypertension (64.03 percent), diabetes (37.77 percent), and neurological disorders (27.30 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (26.19 percent), chronic kidney disease (22.48 percent), obesity (20.62 percent), congestive heart failure (16.68 percent), pulmonary issues (14.43 percent), cancer (8.46 percent), and asthma (4.16 percent). Only 4.3 percent of all patients had no underlying conditions.

 

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

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