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Louisiana sees best week yet of second coronavirus peak as improvement continues

Andrew Capps
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
COVID-19 Testing

Coronavirus cases and deaths in Louisiana are on a sustained decline as the state continues to see fewer cases each week following its second wave peak this summer.

Over the past week, the state reached a new post-second wave low for cases, and came close to a previous low for deaths from COVID-19, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health.

Louisiana averaged 587 new cases a day this week, down from 672 last week and 747 the week before. That marks a 13% decline in new cases from last week, the most substantial decrease week-to-week since new cases dropped off dramatically at the end of the state’s second peak in August. 

Weekly new cases in Louisiana peaked in late July, with an average of 2,163 cases reported a day from July 18-24. That peak has declined dramatically in the nearly two months since, with this week’s new cases reaching a second wave low. 

The greatest declines in new cases came in Acadiana, which saw 43% fewer new cases, and the New Orleans region, where new cases fell 37%. 

But three parts of the state saw new cases increase compared to last week, with the greatest increase coming in the Shreveport region, which reported 18% more cases this week than last, followed by the Monroe area at 14% and the Houma/Thibodeaux region at 2%. 

As of Friday, 160,283 total cases of coronavirus have been reported in Louisiana and 5,172 dead. The state health department says about 156,000 people are presumed to have recovered since the outbreak began in March, leaving about 9,000 active confirmed cases in the state. 

No-cost COVID-19 testing conducted by the Louisiana Army National Guard has been intermittently suspended in parts of the state in the weeks following the impact of Hurricane Laura and in preparation for Hurricane Sally, which largely missed Louisiana earlier this week. But statewide testing was up by 4% this week over last. 

The declining number of new cases has also prompted a decline in the state’s preliminary positivity rate this week, which fell by a substantial 16% this week to just 3.8%. That’s down from 4.5% last week and 5.1% the week before, though official positivity rates from the health department have not yet been released. 

Louisiana reported a decline in deaths from COVID-19 this week compared to last week, with 140 reported this week, the state’s second lowest weekly total since early July, behind 131 deaths reported from Aug. 29-Sep. 4. 

Second-wave deaths from COVID-19 in Louisiana never reached the levels seen during the state’s first wave this spring, reaching a peak during the first week of August at 254 fatalities across seven days, compared to a first wave peak of 458 lives lost from April 11-17. 

Still, this week COVID-related deaths in the state continued on a falling trajectory, with the 140 reported deaths since Sep. 11 amounting to a 13% drop from last week’s 160 fatalities. 

Louisiana has now reported 5,172 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. 

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have continued to decline from the state’s second wave peak of 1,600 patients in late July. 

As of Thursday, 647 COVID patients were being cared for in the state’s hospitals, 76 fewer patients than the state had a week ago on Sep. 10. That follows a decline of 85 patients last week and 68 the week before.

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