Friday's COVID update from the Louisiana Department of Health has given new coronavirus cases to the state and a slight hike in state hospitalizations after three-straight says of decreases earlier this week.

COVID hospitalizations in Louisiana now number 1,546 patients. There are now 222 COVID patients on ventilators in the state. Those numbers were 1,524 hospitalized and 205 on ventilators yesterday.

Studying trends in hospitalizations is the most effective way to track progression or regression in a pandemic that's now many months old. In the first wave of COVID, the state had as many as 2,151 COVID patients hospitalized. After lockdown, then Phase 1 of re-opening, that number dropped below 550 patients hospitalized.

Since Phase 2, numbers gradually rose and in this second wave, COVID Hospitalizations rose back to as high as 1,600 earlier this week before momentum has slowly started to slow. The last few days are the first times since the start of Phase 2 that we have seen numbers turn in a positive direction, but today's increase offsets some of those gains slightly. 

For our Region, Region 3, hospitalizations dropped. There were 69 COVID patients hospitalized yesterday. That number is 61 today. Ventilator use rose from 5 to 9 in the past 24 hours, however.

The reason for an increase in hospitalization was because our total daily cases and percent positive were up throughout most of July, as well.

But in the past week, that momentum, too, is slowly showing signs of changing.

The state reports 116,280 total COVID cases, up from 114,481 yesterday. The new cases come from tests processed in the past 24 hours. The state processed 24,853 of those tests in the past day. Adding 1,799 new cases to 24,853 processed tests represents a 7.2% positive rate, which is again better than the 10% benchmark. The state has now been below 10% all week, which is a great sign of progress. 

Louisiana has 3,835 COVID deaths, up from 3,811 reported yesterday. Lousiana deaths have been on the rise in recent days due to the hospitalizations spike we had last month. If hospitalization numbers can continue to drop, death totals should fall, as well.

In Lafourche Parish, there are 2,516 total COVID cases, up from 2,468 yesterday.

The parish has 96 COVID deaths. 

There were 271 processed tests in Lafourche yesterday. Adding 48 new cases to 271 processed tests is a 17.7% positive rate, which is more than double the state average. Local medical experts say that number is due to the lack of asymptomatic patients in Lafourche, which is making the number higher. 

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