COVID-19

According to the Louisiana Department of Health weekly update on COVID-19 cases in elementary and secondary schools, the number has more than doubled since last week’s report.

Among K-12 schools, the state is currently reporting 1,316 cases, up from 523 cases on Sept. 30. Of those, 412 were among staff and faculty and 904 among students. The state currently has 1,340 schools enlisted in its primary and secondary reporting program.

On the higher education level, the state reported 3,147 cases among students living or attending classes on campus, up from 2,675 last week. The number of students infected while in virtual learning only since the beginning of the fall semester rose to 168 from 117 cases among students. The number of cases among staff and faculty working on campus rose to 247 from 211 and 28 from 25 among faculty and staff working virtually.

In its congregate setting tracking, LDH is showing 3,102 cases in 380 separate outbreaks. More than a fourth of those, 827, are in 31 outbreaks at food processing facilities, with another 438 in 61 outbreaks in other industrial sites. 

The state is currently showing 479 cases identified in bars, in 42 outbreaks, which is a slight increase in cases but the same number of outbreaks as reported the previous week.

Wednesday’s LDH daily report on COVID-19 data showed the state with 1,052 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but officials said 406 of those are backdated cases that should have been counted prior to Sept. 16.

That raises the total identified infections so far in the state to 170,097.

The state also added 23,032 new test results Wednesday, making the rough positivity rate for the currently reported 646 infections 2.8 percent, or 4.5 percent if those backdated results are counted in the new test total.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Oct. 2, the last date reported, was 27.48 tests per 10,000 residents. The positivity rate among those tests was 4.77 percent.

In Region 4, the Oct. 2 testing rate was well below the state average, at 23.06 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests as of Oct. 2 was slightly above the state average, at 4.7 percent.

According to the Wednesday update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 5,411, up from 5,402 on Tuesday. That rise represents an increase of nine, or a 0.16 percent change. The average age of fatal patients is 75, the median age 76. As of Oct. 7, 193 of those deaths were still considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing. The number of probable deaths attributed to COVID-19 is updated each week on Wednesday.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases dropped by one to 2,998 Wednesday. The number of deaths remained at 90, with 33,125 tests performed in the parish. The LDH latest two-week incidence map update showed that the parish’s positive test rate dropped 28.46 percent, from 118.41 cases reported per 100,000 population on Sept. 9 to 107.13 per 100,000 on Sept. 23.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases was at 2,119, a decrease of five, with 29,339 tests performed. The LDH two-week incidence map shows that on Sept. 23, St. Martin Parish had 61.54 cases reported per 100,000 population, a 47.6 percent drop from 117.49 per 100,000 in the last update. The number of deaths remained at 61.

In St. Mary Parish, the total cases were at 1,963 after 20,392 tests. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 78. The LDH incidence map shows that on Sept. 23 the parish had 162.74 cases reported per 100,000 population, up 30.7 percent from 124.56 on Sept. 9.

In Lafayette Parish, the Monday case count rose by 24, to 9,106, with the number of tests rising to 141,500. The number of deaths remained at 135. The LDH incidence map shows that the parish had 119.86 cases reported per 100,000 population on Sept. 23, down 12.9 percent from 137.57 on Sept. 9.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 17,913 on Wednesday, compared to 12,867 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 222,934 tests in Jefferson compared to 259,985 in Orleans.

Despite lower case numbers, the more urban Orleans Parish has seen 16 more deaths than its suburban neighbor. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 589. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths was at to 573. The LDH two-week incidence map shows that on Sept. 23, Jefferson Parish had 108.28 cases reported per 100,000 population, down from 141.92 on Sept. 9. In Orleans, that number was 99.49 per 100,000, down from 173.65.

The LDH reporting of data on hospitalizations due to the disease is still running 24 hours behind. On Wednesday, the state reported 552 hospitalizations as of Tuesday, a decrease of 15  from 567 on Monday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by six, to 78 Tuesday. That is up from 71 on Monday. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, dropped by two, to 51 on Tuesday. The number of patients on ventilators Tuesday rose by one, to six.

The overall intensive care bed occupancy rate in Region 4 was still high Tuesday at 89.9 percent, with 143 beds occupied and 16 ICU beds still available. The total number of ICU beds available was at 159. That is still down from the count of active ICU beds before Hurricane Laura, which hovered above 180.

Tuesday's data also showed that hospital bed occupancy was up slightly in Region 4, with 1,214 — 77.4 percent — of the region’s beds occupied and 355 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,569.

When compared by age group, the number of cases in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 37,972 Wednesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group remained at 24. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 27,410, with 82 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 25,064 cases and 174 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 24,603 cases, including 467 fatalities reported. 

The 70 and above group case count was at 19,563. The number of deaths in that group rose to 3,681 — 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.

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 19,283 cases reported and 979 deaths. This age group has the second-highest number of deaths, behind only the 70 and above demographic group.  

The under 18 group, the smallest demographic segment, had 15,996 cases total and four reported deaths.

According to Wednesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed at least 2,425,387 COVID-19 tests so far. 

The state has also started tracking possible cases, which is the number of individuals with a positive test detecting SARS-CoV-2 antigens. That number was 2,528 as of Oct. 7, double the number from the previous week. According to an LDH spokesman, individuals initially identified as having a positive antigen test who are later identified as having a positive confirmatory test will be removed from the probable case count and added to the cumulative case count.

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, 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Oct. 7, rose to 157,873. 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 Sept. 30, the weekly update of fatalities by race showed the percentage of COVID-19 deaths among White victims climbed four-tenth of a percent, while the percentage of Black fatalities continued to drop.

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 45.7 percent as of Oct. 7, while White victims now make up 52.89 percent of all fatal cases. 

The Native American/Alaskan Native total remained at 0.09 percent. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander data remained at 0.08 percent. Other races identified include Asian at 0.67 percent and Other at 0.52 percent.

The number of Black deaths is still disproportionate to the demographics of the state’s population. African Americans make up less than 40 percent of Louisiana’s populace.

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 (52.17 percent), diabetes (31.13 percent), and cardiac disease (20.43 percent).

Other factors included neurological disorders (19.56 percent), chronic kidney disease (18.08 percent), obesity (16.69 percent), congestive heart failure (13.31 percent), pulmonary issues (11.30 percent), cancer (6.64 percent), and asthma (3.4 percent).

 

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

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