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New COVID cases climb, deaths steady

The state of Louisiana saw its second-highest new caseload of the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, according to statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health.

The LDH said at noon Friday that there were 2,642 new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 74,636. It was the second highest new caseload of the entire year — only April 2 with its 2,726 new case increase was higher.

However, on April 2 the state only reported 5,310 total tests, for a positive rate of 51.3 percent. Friday, the state reported 25,108 tests— a positive rate of 10.5 percent.

Friday’s report continued the state’s trend in July of reporting 1,000 new cases or more each day (with the lone exception being July 4, when the LDH did not report any statistics). In the 28 reportable days of June, there were just five days with a new caseload of 1,000 or more.

So far in July, the new caseload has been an average of 1,838 per day. In June, the average daily increase in cases was 649.25.

One reason for the jump in new cases may be due to an increase in testing. In the month of June, the state reported 353,402 tests — or an average of 12,622 tests per day. So far in July, the state has already reported 176,737 tests — an average of 19,637 tests per day.

While the increase in cases is concerning to health officials, there does not yet appear to be a similar elevated spike in the number of new deaths. The state reported 25 new deaths Friday, bringing the overall total to 3,272.

So far in July, there have been 159 deaths reported, or an average of 17.6 deaths per day. In June, there was a total of 427 deaths reported, or an average of 15.25 deaths per day.

The average in other months was 26.6 deaths per day in May, 54.1 deaths per day in April, and 10.4 deaths per day in March.

On Friday, the state reported 75 new hospitalizations and 12 new patients on ventilators, increasing its census to 1,117 patients in the hospital and 122 patients on ventilators.

Friday’s report was the highest ventilator census since May 17, when there were 123 patients reported on ventilators. The hospitalization census has not been this high since May 14, when there were 1,193 hospitalized patients reported.

Both statistics are still far below their historic peaks, however. The peak number of hospitalizations was 2,134 on April 13, and the peak number of patients on ventilators was 571 on April 4.

On Tuesday of this week, the state reported that 46,334 patients had presumably recovered from COVID-19.

In Washington Parish, as of Friday’s report, there had been 812 cases and 49 deaths reported, with 9,200 total tests performed.

Louisiana began reopening for Phase One on May 15-16, and then moved to Phase Two on June 5. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on June 22 that the state, after seeing an alarming increase in cases and hospitalizations, would remain in Phase Two for 28 more days.

The LDH releases new statistics every day at noon, online at ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.