Louisiana’s tallies of new COVID-19 deaths are continuing to hover in the single digits as the positivity rates for the Teche Area remain mixed.
The Louisiana Department of Health COVID-19 update Thursday showed 791 new cases based on 20,259 new tests. That pushed the state’s total of identified cases to 451,476.
Of the overall identified cases, 384,292 are confirmed, with 67,184 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 the new tests reported Thursday was 3.9 percent, which is higher than has been reported in recent weeks.
Louisiana had 10,273 total COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday, with nine new deaths added. Of the total deaths, 9,388 are confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with 885 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing.
The average age of fatal patients remained at 75, while the median age was at 76 as of April 7.
In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose to 6,771 Thursday, an increase of 14. Of those, 6,185 are confirmed, with 586 probable. The number of deaths remained at 152, with 138 confirmed and 14 probable. There have been 91,511 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 134.6 percent, from 2.6 percent on March 31 to 6.1 percent on April 7. The incidence of tests rose by 148 percent, from 35.2 per 10,000 population on March 31 to 87.4 on April 7.
St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 5,113, an increase of 21, with 63,815 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 7.5 percent on March 31 to 8.4 percent on April 7, a 12 percent increase, while the testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose 4.8 percent, from 78.3 on March 31 to 82.1 on April 7. The number of deaths remained at 115, with 104 confirmed and 11 probable.
In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate dropped to 4.5 percent as of April 7, down from 5.9 percent on March 31, a 23.7 percent decrease. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population fell, from 118.5 on March 31 to 104.5 on April 7, an 11.9 percent decrease. Total cases Thursday rose to 4,602, an increase of one, after 57,181 tests. Of those positive tests, 3,597 are confirmed, with 1,005 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths rose by one, to 134, with 117 confirmed and 17 probable.
Around the state
In Lafayette Parish, the Thursday case count rose to 22,701, an increase of 57, with the number of tests rising to 318,967. The seven-day test positivity average rose to 4.4 percent as of April 7, up 29.4 percent from 3.4 percent on March 31. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose during the same period, from 58.5 on March 31 to 63 on April 7, a 7.8 percent increase. The number of deaths remained at 272, with 251 confirmed and 21 probable.
The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 45,454 on Thursday, an increase of 44, compared to an increase of 29, to 29,579 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 895,377, compared to 628,746 tests in Jefferson.
Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose by two, to 788, with 735 confirmed and 53 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 885, with 845 confirmed and 40 probable.
The LDH report showed hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections rose to 338 on Wednesday, up 13 from 325. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by four, to 45.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, climbed by four, to 56 Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by two, to five.
Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Wednesday rose slightly, to 73.8 percent, with 1,254 of the region’s beds occupied and 445 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,699.
Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was at 87.1 percent Wednesday, with 136 of 156 beds occupied.
The overall occupancy percentages are based on all cases, not just COVID-19 cases, and includes not only the physical bed and space but also the staff required to issue care. The burden of additional patient load affects the ability of hospitals to serve all patients, especially in critical care situations.
By age group
Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 92,254 Thursday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 34.
The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 72,629, with 131 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 65,774 cases and 301 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 64,898 cases, including 871 fatalities reported.
In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 51,687 cases reported and 1,952 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 45,847. The number of deaths in that group rose to 6,977 — 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 had 58,069 cases total — 10,612 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.
The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of April 7 was 160.1 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 195.6 on March 31. The positivity rate among those tests rose four-tenths of a point as of April 7 to 2.6 percent, up from 2.2 percent on March 31.
In Region 4, the April 7 testing rate was even lower, at 150.6 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was far higher than the state average at 4.2 percent, up from 3 percent on March 31.
According to Wednesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 6,752,273 COVID-19 tests so far.
Gender, underlying conditions
By gender, the state’s bi-weekly report shows women still making up the largest part — 56 percent — of the identified COVID-19 cases in the state, with men comprising 44 percent. On the other hand, the COVID-19 deaths are predominantly among men, 53.1 percent to 46.9 percent for women.
Initially, LDH reported that 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were in the Black community. That number dropped to 38.3 percent as of April 7, while White victims now make up 60.2 percent of all fatal cases.
The Native American/Alaskan Native total was at 0.15 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.8 percent and Other at 0.4 percent.
The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the April 7 report were hypertension (63 percent), diabetes (37 percent), and cardiac disease (27.4 percent).
Other factors included neurological disorders (26.5 percent), chronic kidney disease (21.6 percent), obesity (21.2 percent), congestive heart failure (16.5 percent), pulmonary issues (15 percent), cancer (8.8 percent), and asthma (4.1 percent). Only 4.2 percent of all patients had no underlying conditions.
Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at email@example.com.