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Average daily caseload tripled in July

An increase in testing, as well as a spike in positive testing rate, led to the average daily COVID-19 caseload in July more than tripling compared to June, according to statistics from the Louisiana Department of Health.

In June, the state reported an average of 646.1 cases a day. In July, the average daily caseload was 2,078 — an increase of nearly 322 percent.

One reason for the spike was an increase in testing. The state averaged 12,621.5 new tests per day in June, and that jumped to 21,919 a day in July — an increase of 73.6 percent.

Another factor in the jump in average caseload was the increase in percentage of positive tests. In June, an average of 5.7 percent of all tests turned out to be positive. In July, that average increased to 9.6 percent. Ten percent is the suggested federal threshold to show that a state is doing well against the virus.

However, there were some positive signs late in July. Each of the last five days had a positive test percentage that was lower than the monthly average — 8.8 percent on Monday, 6.9 percent on Tuesday, 9.2 percent on Wednesday, 7.7 percent on Thursday and 7.2 percent on Friday.

Earlier in the month, there had been a streak of five straight days with a positive rate above 10 percent. Those days were July 8-12 and the percentages were 10.4 percent, 12.8 percent, 10.5 percent, 11.3 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

Other statistical averages also saw increases in July compared to June.

The average of new deaths per day was 15.9 in June, and it increased to 25.8 deaths per day in July. The averages were 26.5 in May, and 54.1 in April.

The average of hospitalizations per day was 612.2 in June, and it increased to 1,303.2 in July. The averages were 1,110.7 in May, and 1,819.3 in April.

The average number of hospital patients on ventilators was 76.9 in June, and it increased to 154.8 in July. The averages were 139.8 in May, and 396.1 in April.

While July saw higher averages of hospitalizations and patients on ventilators, they are still below peak levels.

The average number of hospitalizations in July was 1,303.18, and the peak so far was 2,134 hospitalizations on April 13. The average number of patients on ventilators in July was 154.8, and the peak so far was 571 patients on ventilators on April 4.

The highest point of hospitalizations in July was the 1,600 patients reported on Monday. The low point was the 799 patients reported on July 1. Friday’s report had a census of 1,546 patients.

The highest point of patients on ventilators in July was the 222 patients reported on Friday. The low point was the 84 patients reported on July 1.

On Friday, July 24, Gov. John Bel Edwards officially extended the state’s “Phase Two” reopening plan for two additional weeks. The current order is scheduled to expire Friday, Aug. 7. It is likely Edwards will make an announcement next week on whether that existing order will be extended further.

Louisiana began reopening in Phase One on May 15, and then moved to Phase Two on June 5. It has been in Phase Two since.

The LDH releases new statistics every day at noon, except for Saturdays. They can be found online at ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.