Thursday's COVID update from the Louisiana Department of Health has given new coronavirus cases to the state.

State COVID cases now have eclipsed 150,000, as Louisiana reports 150,651 total COVID cases. That's up from the 149,838 cases reported yesterday.

The new cases come from processed tests in the past 24 hours. The state has a 7.1% positive rate today, from 884 new cases in 12,320 processed tests. 

That % positive rate has sunken below 10% now for many weeks. Even in recent days without bulk drive-thru testing, our positivity rate has been below 10%, which is a good sign.

State deaths now number 4,858. That's up from the 4,841 reported yesterday. This is our second-straight day with fewer than 20 COVID deaths in the state. 

For Lafourche Parish, our total COVID cases number 3,312. They were 3,298 yesterday. The parish has 110 total COVID deaths. 

Our parish's % positive rate today is 6.9% with 14 new cases and 201 processed tests.

All of the above are total numbers. Those numbers continue to grow as days go by.

But current numbers are the best measure of where we stand right now during a pandemic, and that's why tracking hospitalizations are so important.

The state reports 851 COVID hospitalizations today. That number was 873 yesterday.

The state has 128 COVID patients on ventilators. That number was 132 yesterday.

The high point of this COVID wave pushed our hospitalizations from 552 to 1,600. 

Masking mandates and tightened restrictions have slowed the virus's spread and have helped us limit our hospitalizations in recent weeks, signs of progress in Phase 2, which could lead to enhanced re-opening in the future.

Our region's COVID hospitalizations have followed the state's. Our region has 37 COVID hospitalizations. That number was also 37 yesterday. 

Region 3 ventilator use jumped from 4 to 5 in the last 24 hours. 

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