The Louisiana Department of Health added 631 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday based on 18,017 new tests, pushing the state’s total of identified cases to 434,926.
Of the overall identified cases, 373,247 are confirmed, with 61,679 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 cases reported Tuesday was 3.5 percent.
Louisiana had 9,769 total COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday, with 11 new deaths added. Of the total deaths, 9,050 are confirmed with 719 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 Feb. 24.
In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose to 6,542 Tuesday, an increase of 12. Of those, 6,004 are confirmed, with 538 probable. The number of deaths remained at 148, with 136 confirmed and 12 probable. There have been 84,238 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity dropped 26.56 percent, from 6.4 percent on Feb. 17 to 4.7 percent on Feb. 24. The incidence of tests rose by 53.7 percent, from 76.12 per 10,000 population on Feb. 17 to 117 on Feb. 24.
St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases dropped to 4,869, a decrease of eight, with 59,245 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate dropped from 5.3 percent on Feb. 17 to 4.6 percent on Feb. 24, a 13.21 percent decrease, while the testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose 52 percent, from 46.62 on Feb. 17 to 70.87 on Feb. 24. The number of deaths rose by one, to 113, with 102 confirmed and 11 probable.
In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate dropped to 4.3 percent as of Feb. 24, down from 5.9 percent on Feb. 17, a 27.12 percent decrease.
The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose, from 98.44 on Feb. 17 to 136.62 on Feb. 24.
Total cases Tuesday rose to 4,210 after 51,486 tests. Of those positive tests, 3,378 are confirmed, with 832 probable.
The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 123, with 109 confirmed and 14 probable.
Around the state
In Lafayette Parish, the Friday case count rose by 39, to 21,774, with the number of tests rising to 293,262.
The seven-day test positivity average dropped from 4.1 percent on Feb. 17 to 3 percent as of Feb. 24, a decrease of 26.83 percent.
The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose during the same period, from 61.37 to 62.2, a 1.34 percent increase. The number of deaths remained at 262, with 244 confirmed and 18 probable.
The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 44,305 on Tuesday, compared to an increase to 28,782 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 794,468, compared to 574,031 tests in Jefferson.
Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths were at 769, with 720 confirmed and 49 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 857, with 824 confirmed and 33 probable.
The LDH reporting showed hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections rose by nine, to 543 on Monday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by three, to 75.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by five, to 58 Monday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by two, to seven.
Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Monday was below 70 percent, at 69.4 percent, with 1,163 of the region’s beds occupied and 512 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,675.
Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was below 80 percent Monday, at 76.6 percent, with 118 of 154 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 88,651 Tuesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 33.
The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 69,748, with 125 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 63,265 cases and 279 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 62,642 cases, including 811 fatalities reported.
In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 50,273 cases reported and 1,838 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 45,040. The number of deaths in that group rose to 6,676 — 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 54,992 cases total — 10,031 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.
The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Feb. 24 was 238.4 tests per 10,000 residents, up from 188 on Feb. 17. The positivity rate among those tests dropped by seven-tenths of a point as of Feb. 24 to 3.7 percent, down from 4.4 percent on Feb. 17.
In Region 4, the Feb. 24 testing rate was even lower, at 229.2 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was lower than the state average at 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 percent on Feb. 17.
According to Tuesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 6,136,893 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, 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent for women.
The number of presumed recovered cases, as of March 1, rose to 415,954. 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.
Initially, LDH reported that 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were in the Black community. That number dropped to 38.7 percent as of Feb. 24, while White victims now make up 59.8 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 0.77 percent, Unknown at 0.01 percent and Other at 0.41 percent.
That data is supposed to be reported once every two weeks as of the beginning of the year.
The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the Feb. 24 report were hypertension (62.8 percent), diabetes (37 percent), and cardiac disease (26.7 percent).
Other factors included neurological disorders (26.3 percent), chronic kidney disease (21.5 percent), obesity (21 percent), congestive heart failure (16.3 percent), pulmonary issues (14.6 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.