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July’s cases 5 times higher than May’s, yet deaths lower

The average of new daily COVID-19 cases has skyrocketed in July, and yet the rate of new deaths is still nowhere near April’s peak, according to an analysis of statistics from the Louisiana Department of Health.

The LDH releases new statistics every day at noon, except for Saturday.

So far in July, the state has averaged 1,924.4 new cases per day, and 19.2 new deaths per day. These are both increases from June, when the state averaged 646.1 new cases per day and 15.9 new deaths per day.

One reason for the increase in cases could be because test results are being reported more often. In June, the average number of new tests per day was 12,621.5, and in July it is 19,722.6 per day — an increase of more than 7,000 tests per day.

The increase in testing and caseload has also affected the averages of two key statistics — the number of total COVID-19 hospitalizations, and the number of those patients on ventilators.

In June, the state averaged 612.2 hospitalizations per day (not new hospitalizations, just an average of all daily patient counts), and 76.9 patients on ventilators per day. In July so far, those averages are 1,177.3 hospitalizations per day and 131.5 patients on ventilators per day.

Consistent increases in those statistics may be one reason why Gov. John Bel Edwards has not yet chosen to move the state of Louisiana from “Phase Two” to “Phase Three” of reopening. On Tuesday, Edwards announced that the state would continue to stay in Phase Two until at least Friday, Aug. 7.

There are signs for optimism, however. There are some interesting trends when comparing statistics between May and July.

In May, the state averaged 384.4 new cases per day. July’s average of 1,924.4 new cases per day is a little more than five times May’s (an increase of 500.6 percent, to be precise).

However, nearly all other statistics in July are markedly similar to May.

  • New deaths per day — May was 26.5, July is 19.2 (decrease of 27.5 percent).
  • New tests per day — May was 6,896.7, July is 19,722.6 (increase of 286 percent).
  • Hospitalizations per day — May was 1,110.7 per day, July is 1,177.3 (increase of 5.6 percent).
  • Patients on ventilators per day — May was 139.8 per day, July is 131.5 per day (decrease of 6.3 percent).

It should also be noted that July’s averages are nowhere near their April peaks in the categories of deaths, hospitalizations or ventilators.

April had an average of 54.1 new deaths per day (19.2 per day so far in July), 1,819.3 hospitalizations per day (1,177.3 in July), and 396.1 patients on ventilators per day (131.5 in July).

For more statistics, visit online at ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.