State will not report numbers over weekend

The Louisiana Department of Health will not be reporting any COVID-19 data for the next few days as the state employees take a three-day weekend for the Good Friday and Easter holidays.

According to a note on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard Thursday, the next report will come out on Monday, April 5.

The LDH COVID-19 update Thursday showed 549 new cases based on 39,286 new tests. That pushed the state’s total of identified cases to 445,469.

Of the overall identified cases, 380,386 are confirmed, with 65,083 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 Thursday was 1.4 percent.

Louisiana had 10,161 total COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday, with 20 new deaths added. Of the total deaths, 9,308 are confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with 853 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 6,658 Wednesday, a decrease of two. Of those, 6,096 are confirmed, with 562 probable. The number of deaths rose by two, to 152, with 138 confirmed and 14 probable. There have been 88,552 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 5,022, an increase of 14, with 61,965 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 Thursday rose to 4,509, an increase of 20, after 55,487 tests. Of those positive tests, 3,552 are confirmed, with 957 probable. The number of COVID-19 deaths rose by three, to 132, with 115 confirmed and 17 probable.

Around the state

In Lafayette Parish, the Thursday case count rose to 22,330, an increase of 53, with the number of tests rising to 308,984. 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 remained at 270, with 250 confirmed and 20 probable.

The number of cases in Jefferson Parish rose to 45,062 on Thursday, an increase of 26, compared to an increase of 37, to 29,301, in Orleans Parish. The latest data shows Orleans administered more tests, with 857,820, compared to 608,095 tests in Jefferson.

Jefferson Parish continues to surpass the COVID-19 death toll in Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish deaths rose by one, to 783, with 731 confirmed and 52 probable. In Jefferson Parish, the total number of deaths rose by three, to 881, with 841 confirmed and 40 probable.

Hospitalizations

The LDH report showed hospitalizations statewide due to coronavirus infections dropped to 347 on Wednesday, down seven from 354. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by four, to 56.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Region 4, which covers Acadiana, dropped by four, to 48 Wednesday. The number of patients on ventilators dropped by one, to eight.

Overall hospital bed occupancy in Region 4 Wednesday was still above 70 percent, at 73.2 percent, with 1,232 of the region’s beds occupied and 449 available. The total number of reported beds was at 1,681.

Overall intensive care unit occupancy across Acadiana was at 71.8 percent Wednesday, with 112 of 156 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 90,787 Thursday. 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 71,522, with 129 deaths, followed closely by the 40 to 49 age group, with 64,863 cases and 299 deaths, and the 50 to 59 age range with 64,117 cases, including 857 fatalities reported.

In the 60 to 69 age group, there were 51,266 cases reported and 1,925 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 45,570. The number of deaths in that group rose to 6,908 — 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 57,027 cases total — 10,422 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 Thursday’s update, labs in Louisiana have processed 6,535,079 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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