State infection, death numbers continue to trend downard

Louisiana’s tallies of new COVID-19 infections and deaths are continuing their downward trend, with fewer than 200 new cases reported Tuesday and deaths falling in the single digits for the third time in a week.

The LDH COVID-19 update Tuesday showed 198 new cases based on 10,808 new tests. That pushed the state’s total of identified cases to 446,955.

Of the overall identified cases, 381,445 are confirmed, with 65,510 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 Tuesday was 1.8 percent.

Louisiana had 10,174 total COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday, with nine new deaths added. Of the total deaths, 9,324 are confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with 850 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 March 24.

Local numbers

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases dropped to 6,682 Tuesday, an increase of one. Of those, 6,117 are confirmed, with 565 probable. The number of deaths remained at 152, with 138 confirmed and 14 probable. There have been 89,889 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 47 percent, from 3.4 percent on March 17 to 5 percent on March 24. The incidence of tests rose by 28.6 percent, from 39.5 per 10,000 population on March 17 to 50.8 on March 24.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose to 5,034, an increase of one, with 62,735 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate dropped from 6.3 percent on March 17 to 4.7 percent on March 24, a 25.4 percent decrease, while the testing incidence rate per 10,000 population dropped 29.3 percent, from 74.6 on March 17 to 54.1 on March 24. The number of deaths remained at 115, with 104 confirmed and 11 probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate rose to 7.3 percent as of March 24, up from 6 percent on March 17, a 21.7 percent increase. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population fell, from 208.9 on March 17 to 184.4 on March 24, an 11.5 percent decrease. Total cases Tuesday rose to 4,536 after 55,952 tests. Of those positive tests, 3,566 are confirmed, with 970 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 132, with 115 confirmed and 17 probable.

Around the state

In Lafayette Parish, the Tuesday case count rose to 22,416, an increase of seven, with the number of tests rising to 312,787. The seven-day test positivity average rose to 5.4 percent as of March 24, up 5.9 percent from 5.1 percent on March 17. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population dropped during the same period, from 63 on March 10 to 61 on March 24, a 3.3 percent decrease. The number of deaths rose by one, to 271, with 251 confirmed and 20 probable.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 45,173 on Tuesday, compared to an increase to 29,388 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 872,436, compared to 616,183 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 783, with 731 confirmed and 52 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths remained at 881, with 842 confirmed and 39 probable.

Hospitalizations

The LDH report showed hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections rose to 299 on Monday, up seven from 292. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by two, to 47.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, dropped by four, to 35 Monday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by two, to three.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Monday was well below 70 percent, at 65.6 percent, with 1,087 of the region’s beds occupied and 569 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,656.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was at 75.8 percent Monday, with 116 of 153 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 91,175 Tuesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 36.

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 71,798, with 129 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 65,094 cases and 299 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 64,293 cases, including 858 fatalities reported.

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 51,390 cases reported and 1,928 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 45,642. The number of deaths in that group rose to 6,917 — 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 57,245 cases total — 10,452 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

Seven-day average

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of March 24 was 155.5 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 184 on March 17. The positivity rate among those tests two-tenths of a point as of March 24 to 2.9 percent, up from 2.7 percent on March 17.

In Region 4, the March 24 testing rate was even lower, at 111.5 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was far higher than the state average at 5.9 percent, up from 5.2 percent on March 17.

According to Tuesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 6,609,158 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 38.4 percent as of March 24, while White victims now make up 60.1 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, Unknown at 0 percent and Other at 0.4 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 March 24 report were hypertension (62.8 percent), diabetes (36.9 percent), and cardiac disease (27.3 percent).

Other factors included neurological disorders (26.4 percent), chronic kidney disease (21.5 percent), obesity (21.1 percent), congestive heart failure (16.4 percent), pulmonary issues (14.3 percent), cancer (8.9 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 dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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

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