COVID-19 graphic

As the Centers for Disease Control rolls back some of its outdoor mask requirements for those people who are fully vaccinated, Louisiana continues riding the plateau of new cases and deaths that it has been on since the state entered a modified Phase 3 reopening on March 2.

The new guidance states that in open areas outdoors those who are fully vaccinated, meaning that they have had their full complement of vaccine shots for at least two weeks, can dispense with wearing a mask. The new guidance does still suggest masks in denser crowds, such as concerts or festivals, and indoors.

Tuesday's update

The latest data from the Louisiana Department of Health showed the state with 433 new cases Friday after 23,545 reported tests. That puts the rough positivity rate at 1.8 percent.

The new cases pushed the state’s total of identified cases to 456,884. Of the overall identified cases, 389,344 are confirmed, with 68,540 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.

Louisiana had 10,352 total COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday, with 10 new deaths added. Of the total deaths, 9,445 are confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with 907 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 April 21.

Local numbers

In Iberia Parish, the number of cases rose to 6,935 Tuesday, an increase of 18. Of those, 6,314 are confirmed, with 621 probable. The number of deaths remained at 152, with 138 confirmed and 14 probable. There have been 93,929 tests performed in the parish. The seven-day average test positivity rose by 61.4 percent, from 5.7 percent on April 7 to 9.2 percent on April 14. The incidence of tests rose by 14.3 percent, from 88.8 per 10,000 population on April 7 to 101.49 on April 14.

St. Martin Parish’s number of identified cases rose by 19, to 5,189, with 65,536 tests performed. The seven-day average test positivity rate rose from 8.3 percent on April 7 to 10.5 percent on April 14, a 26.5 percent increase, while the testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose 25.6 percent, from 80.2 on April 7 to 100.7 on April 14. The number of deaths remained at 116, with 105 confirmed and 11 probable.

In St. Mary Parish, the seven-day positivity rate dropped to 3.2 percent as of April 14, down from 4.3 percent on April 7, a 25.6 percent decrease. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population fell, from 102.5 on April 7 to 74.3 on April 7, a 27.5 percent decrease. Total cases Tuesday rose to 4,643 after 58,578 tests. Of those positive tests, 3,622 are confirmed, with 1,021 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 134, with 117 confirmed and 17 probable. 

Around the state

In Lafayette Parish, the Tuesday case count rose to 23,106, an increase of 35, with the number of tests rising to 329,079. The seven-day test positivity average rose to 7.2 percent as of April 14, up 75.6 percent from 4.1 percent on April 7. The testing incidence rate per 10,000 population rose during the same period, from 63.8 on April 7 to 96 on April 14, a 50.3 percent increase. The number of deaths remained at 274, with 253 confirmed and 21 probable. 

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 45,803 on Tuesday, compared to an increase to 29,807 in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 924,946, compared to 646,584 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths remained at 789, with 736 confirmed and 53 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose to 889, with 847 confirmed and 42 probable.

Hospitalizations

The LDH report showed hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections dropped to 308 on Monday, down 11 from 319 on Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by one, to 46.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, rose by one, to 65 Monday. The number of patients on ventilators remained at eight.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Monday was at 68.3 percent, with 1,154 of the region’s beds occupied and 536 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,690.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was at 79.3 percent Monday, with 123 of 155 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 93,667 Tuesday. It is the demographic group with the largest number of identified cases by far. The number of deaths reported in the group was 34. 

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in the 30 to 39 age group was at 73,625, with 132 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 66,494 cases and 307 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 65,543 cases, including 886 fatalities reported. 

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 52,068 cases reported and 1,969 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 46,060. The number of deaths in that group rose to 7,017 — 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 59,119 cases total — 10,869 age 4 and under — and seven reported deaths.

Seven-day average

The state’s seven-day average of tests given as of April 14 was 148.8 tests per 10,000 residents, down from 170.9 on April 7. The positivity rate among those tests rose a full point as of April 14 to 3.5 percent, up from 2.5 percent on April 7. 

In Region 4, the April 14 testing rate was even lower, at 108.9 tests per 10,000 residents. The seven-day average percent positive of those tests was far higher than the state average at 7.2 percent, up from 3.8 percent on April 7.

According to Tuesday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 6,957,479 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, 53.2 percent to 46.8 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 38.24 percent as of April 21, while White victims now make up 60.29 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 0.79 percent and Other at 0.39 percent.

The top three underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths in the April 21 report were hypertension (63.04 percent), diabetes (39.95 percent), and cardiac disease (27.66 percent).

Other factors included neurological disorders (26.42 percent), chronic kidney disease (21.63 percent), obesity (21.3 percent), congestive heart failure (16.48 percent), pulmonary issues (15.01 percent), cancer (9.03 percent), and asthma (4.15 percent). Only 4.24 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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