Lousiana reaches new high for deaths reported in single day as LDH reviews options for hospital bed, staff shortages

Coronavirus

The Louisiana Department of Health on Wednesday reported 68 more deaths from COVID-19, the most reported in a single day since the number peaked over the summer at 69.

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Department of Health on Wednesday reported 68 more deaths from COVID-19, the most reported in a single day since the number peaked over the summer at 69.

It’s the second time this week the state has reached a new high in deaths reported in a single day. On Monday, the state reported 65 deaths, which was previously the highest since July 29.

The number of people in the hospital for COVID-19 also reached a new eight-month high, rising by another 28 to 1,675 statewide as of Tuesday, the latest data available. It is the third time since Dec. 16 the number has reached a new eight-month high. Hospitalizations in Northwest Louisiana also rose by 14 to 347, a new high since peaking at 299 over the summer.

The grim new peaks come a day after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana will remain under modified Phase 2 coronavirus restrictions with a statewide mandatory mask order for another three weeks, saying “the state remains in a perilous situation.”

Concern about running out of hospital beds and staffing has become serious enough for the LDH to issue a Request for Information (RFI) from qualified hospitals around the state about their ability to provide additional bed capacity for COVID patients “and other public-health emergency-related surge medical needs over and beyond the capacity currently being staffed and operated by the hospitals,” with help from the state on additional medical and support staffing.

“At the current rate of projection, the state of Louisiana is facing a potential shortage of staffed and
operational med/surg and/or ICU beds by early 2021″ according to the RFI.

The LDH reported 2,976 new COVID-19 cases statewide Wednesday, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed and probable cases reported in the state to 293,934 and deaths to 7,226. Of the new cases, the state says 2,002 are confirmed and 974 are probable.

Also according to the LDH:

  • Because of the daily removal of newly identified duplicates and out of state cases, the new case increase may not match the difference between today’s and yesterday’s total case count.
  • The collection dates for most of these cases (96.9%) fall between December 15 and December 22, 2020.
  • 96% of the cases reported to the state today were community spread.
  • 4% of the cases reported to the state today were in congregate settings.
  • Individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 (18%) and between the ages of 30 and 39 (17%) account for 35% of these cases.
  • Since yesterday, 32,817 new tests have been reported to the state, bringing the total number of tests to 4,215,096. Of the tests reported today, 26,765 were PCR tests and 6,052 were antigen tests.

Of the 461 new confirmed and probable cases reported in Northwest Louisiana since Tuesday, 219 were in Caddo Parish and 132 were in Bossier Parish. Caddo also reported six more deaths, pushing the death toll in the parish to 501.

Webster reported 32 new cases and two more deaths. Bienville added 21 new cases and three more deaths. Natchitoches added 23 new cases, De Soto 18, and Sabine 15. There were no new cases reported in Claiborne or Red River, but Claiborne reported an additional death.

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