State adds 5,000-plus new cases on Friday

After a day off from reporting for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Louisiana Department of Health showed more than 5,000 new cases Friday, along with more than 40 new deaths across the state.

Friday’s daily COVID-19 data showed the state adding 5,058 new cases as the Thanksgiving holiday, with its travel, family gatherings and Black Friday shopping providing the potential for jump-starting the already active coronavirus, was in full swing. That raised the total identified infections so far in the state to 230,602. Of those, 218,796 are confirmed, with 11,806 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 state added 71,500 new test results Friday, making the rough positivity rate for that day’s tests 7.1 percent.

According to the Friday update, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose to 6,391, an increase of 41 from 6,350 on Wednesday. Of those, 6,136 are confirmed, with 255 considered probable COVID-19 fatalities pending final testing.

That rise represents an increase of 0.65 percent. The average age of fatal patients is 75, the median age 76.

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of Nov. 18 was 295.9 tests per 10,000 residents. The positivity rate among those tests was 8.1 percent, up from 7.5 percent 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. 11 numbers were worse. The testing rate in the region was marginally above the state average, at 311.9 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests, however, was well above the state average at 11.2 percent, up almost a full percentage point from 10.3 percent on Nov. 11. That is the highest it has been since Aug. 5, when it was 12.9 percent.

In Iberia Parish, however, the percent positivity rate dropped by almost a quarter from week to week. In St. Mary Parish, it dropped to 5.2 percent, within striking distance of the state’s baseline of 5 percent.

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases was at 3,671 Friday, an increase of 68. Of those, 3,566 are confirmed, with 105 probable. The number of deaths rose by one, to 106, 103 confirmed and three probable. There have been 43,836 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity dropped from 11.3 percent on Nov. 11 to 8.7 percent on Nov. 18.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 2,704, an increase of 35, with 36,790 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 11.8 percent to 12.9 percent on Nov. 18. The number of deaths remained at 71, with 66 confirmed and five probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate dropped on Nov. 18 to 5.2 percent, from 8.6 percent Nov. 11. Total cases rose by 16 to 2,354 after 27,748 tests. Of those cases, 2,254 are confirmed, with 100 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 95, with 89 confirmed and six probable.

In Lafayette Parish, the Friday case count rose to 12,035, an increase of 255, with the number of tests rising to 183,390. That equates to a rough positivity rate of 7.8 percent for that batch of tests, while the seven-day test positivity average rose from 10.2 percent to 11.8 percent as of Nov. 18. The number of deaths remained at 146, with 145 confirmed and one probable.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 22,389 on Friday, an increase of 723, compared to 15,716 in Orleans Parish, an increase of 328. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 424,929 in Orleans compared to 311,837 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 remained at 646, with 607 confirmed and 39 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose by one to 629, with 604 confirmed and 25 probable.

The LDH reporting of data on hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections showed a momentary lull over the holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, the state reported 1,074 hospitalizations, a decrease of 10 from 1,084 on Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators rose by six, to 125 Thursday.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, dropped by five to 181 on Thursday, down from 186 on Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators Thursday rose to 17, up by one from 16 on Wednesday.

Thursday’s data also shows that intensive care unit beds are still in short supply across Region 4. The overall intensive care bed occupancy rate in Region 4 was at 86.5 percent Thursday. There were 134 beds occupied and 21 ICU beds still open of the 155 ICU beds available.

Thursday’s data also showed that hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 was at 77.9 percent, with 1,210 of the region’s beds occupied and 344 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,554.

Broken down by age group, the number of cases statewide in the 18 to 29 demographic was at 50,607 Friday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group remained at 26.

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 36,751, with 91 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 33,781 cases and 204 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 33,023 cases, including 537 fatalities reported.

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 26,097 cases reported and 1,167 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 25,423. The number of deaths in that group rose to 4,360 — 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 24,704 cases total — 4,644 age 4 and under — and six reported deaths.

According to Friday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed at least 3,469,174 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, 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent for women.

The number of presumed recovered cases, as of Nov. 23, rose to 192,488. 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 Nov. 25, 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 43.6 percent as of Nov. 25, while White victims now make up 55.03 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, and Other at 0.45 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 (49.56 percent), diabetes (29.29 percent), and neurological disorders (21.24 percent).

Other factors included cardiac disease (20.34 percent), chronic kidney disease (17.2 percent), obesity (15.81 percent), congestive heart failure (12.94 percent), pulmonary issues (11.1 percent), cancer (6.63 percent), and asthma (3.26 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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