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COVID-19 cases top 84K as Louisiana reaches 1M-test milestone since beginning of outbreak


BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – More than one million COVID-19 tests have been completed on residents of Louisiana since the outbreak began in the state in early March.

The state reached that milestone Wednesday as the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide rose by 2,089 and another 15 deaths were reported, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 84,131 and 3,351 deaths.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 90 percent of the cases reported to the state Wednesday were community-spread and 34 percent of the cases are among those aged 29 and under.

1,001,200 tests have been performed statewide as of Wednesday, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The total includes tests performed by both state and commercial labs.

“Today, Louisiana surpassed a major testing milestone having now conducted more than one million COVID-19 tests since March,” Gov. Edwards said in a statement released shortly after the latest coronavirus data was updated on the Louisiana Department of Health dashboard.

That data typically includes data updated daily on the number of tests reported by state and commercial labs. On Wednesday, data on tests reported by commercial labs were updated, but state lab test numbers remained unchanged from Tuesday. Neither the governor’s office nor the LDH offered an immediate explanation for the unchanged state lab data.

However, Edwards noted in his statement there have been issues with test results being backlogged.

“We are a small state and this level of testing would not be possible without federal partners, state agencies and local governments working together with our health care providers. While we know there are still issues related to the availability of testing supplies and some reports of test results being backlogged, I am hopeful that our continued push to test as many Louisianans as we can will result in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our state. We have lost too many Louisianans to this illness already, and we cannot and will not let our health care system become overwhelmed.”  

Wednesday’s newly confirmed cases came from the results of 24,745 tests reported to the state health department since Tuesday, all from commercial labs. Of those tests, 8.44 percent came back positive.

The state’s daily positivity rate had dropped as low as 7.09 percent in early June before beginning to steadily rise again even as more tests were performed through the remainder of the month and into July.

“I am proud not only of the people who work day in and day out to bring testing to our people, from our frontline health care heroes to members of our Louisiana National Guard and staff of the Office of Public Health, but also of the many Louisianans who took the step to get a test. We have already surpassed our testing goal from July and have the second highest testing rate of all states since the start of the crisis.” 

Statewide, hospitalizations for the coronavirus rose by just two to 1,369. In Region 7, hospitalizations also dropped just slightly, from 275 Tuesday to 272. The availability of ICU beds in the region remains around 20 percent, according to LDH data.

162 of the new cases reported Wednesday were in NWLA, including 84 in Caddo Parish and 33 more in Bossier. There are also 12 new cases reported in De Soto, 10 more in Natchitoches and Webster, six more in Sabine, 3 in Bienville and two each in Claiborne and Red River.

There were no new deaths reported in the region.

As of noon Wednesday, July 15, the LDH was reporting the following data on confirmed cases, deaths, and testing in Northwest Louisiana: 

  • Caddo  – 4,606 case(s)  |  249 death(s)  |  609 state tests  | 74,271 commercial tests
  • Bossier  –  1,403 case(s)  |  39 death(s)  | 268 state tests  |29,490 commercial tests
  • De Soto  – 461 case(s)  |  21 death(s)  |  79 state tests  | 6,293 commercial tests
  • Webster  –  564 case(s)  | 12 death(s)  | 178 state tests  |  9,231 commercial tests
  • Claiborne  –  156 case(s)  |  10 death(s)  |  100 state tests  | 2,898 commercial tests
  • Bienville  –  275 case(s)  |  28 death(s)  |  225 state tests  |  3,555 commercial tests
  • Natchitoches  –  443 case(s)  |  14 death(s)  | 344 state tests  |  5,644 commercial tests
  • Sabine  –  242 case(s)  |  1 death(s)  |  189 state tests  |  3,792 commercial tests
  • Red River  –  98 case(s)  |  9 death(s)  | 91 state tests  |  1,175 commercial tests

The LDH updates the number of people who are presumed recovered from the coronavirus weekly. As of Tuesday, July 14, that number stood at 53,288. That is 6,954 more presumed recoveries than were reported the previous week. However, new cases have outpaced recoveries in recent weeks. That was the case once again this week, with 15,715 new cases confirmed in the same period.

With more than 84,000 confirmed cases to-date and more than 3,300 deaths, there are currently least 27,000 known active cases in the state.

“I encourage all Louisianans to continue to wear their masks when they are in public, maintain at least six feet of distance from people who are not in their household, stay home when they are sick and wash their hands frequently,” Edwards said in his statement Wednesday. “If we put in the work together, we can beat COVID-19 in our state. I am praying for us all.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and be life-threatening.

If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.

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