Numbers in hospitals, on ventilators continues  to drop

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients on ventilators across the state continued to decline last week, but in areas with lower vaccination rates, like Acadiana, the progress is slower than in more highly vaccinated regions.

According to Friday’s data from the Louisiana Department of Health, the state data showed a decrease in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, dropping from 1,825 on Wednesday to 1,755 Thursday, a decrease of 70. The state data also shows that the number of patients on ventilators decreased Thursday to 337, down 27 from Wednesday’s total of 364.

In Region 4, which encompasses the Acadiana area, hospitalizations dropped by 14 Thursday to 223, down from 237 Wednesday. The region’s number of ventilator cases dropped by three, from 62 Wednesday to 59 on Thursday.

But Region 4’s ICU bed occupancy rose to 175 Thursday, with 10 beds available across the seven-parish area. That put the percentage of occupied ICU beds at 94.5 percent, down slightly from Wednesday’s data even though more beds were in use.

Only three of the state’s health care regions have vaccinations totals above 40 percent, and all three of them are in the more urban and liberal “toe” of Louisiana’s boot. Those three regions, encompassing New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Florida Parishes, are also showing the greatest drops in hospitalizations and intubations of COVID-19 patients.

In Region 3, which stretches from St. Mary Parish east to Lafourche and north to St. Charles, 37 of 44 ICU beds were occupied as of Thursday, but that total is down by 52 from the 96 ICU beds available prior to Hurricane 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, 13 of 84 reported ICU beds were available.

The overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 rose to 80.2 percent Thursday, with 340 of 1,721 beds available.

As of Sept. 1, the state’s seven-day COVID-19 test percent positivity was at 11.3 percent, down from 12.3 on Aug. 25.

In Iberia Parish, the seven-day test positivity average was at 18 percent on Sept. 1, down from 21 percent on Aug. 25. In St. Martin Parish, the percentage dropped 10.39 percent on Sept. 1, down from 15.8 percent on Aug. 25 to 13.4 on Sept. 1. St. Mary Parish, however, saw a slight increase, from 16.6 percent on Aug. 25 to 17.8 percent on Sept. 1.

Iberia Parish had logged 11,760 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, an increase of 60. The parish COVID-19 death toll rose by four, to 203. In St. Martin Parish, new cases identified brought the total there to 7,869, an increase of 31. The number of deaths rose by three, to 144.

In St. Mary Parish, new cases rose to 8,013, an increase of 25 cases, with deaths rising by two, to 194.

According to Friday’s LDH update, the number of COVID-19 cases reported rose by 2,173 since Thursday, to 712,574. The state also recorded 64 new deaths since Thursday, bringing the total to 13,056.

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

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