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State’s COVID deaths average drops

The state of Louisiana has seen the number of average daily COVID-19 deaths reported fall below 20 for the month, according to statistics released Friday by the Louisiana Department of Health.

According to Friday’s report, there has been an average of 19.0 deaths per day in the month of September. The average number of deaths in August was 30.6, and the average in July was 23.3.

Through Tuesday, Sept. 15, the state’s average was 21.4 deaths reported per day, but several recent low reports have brought that average down. There were nine deaths reported on Monday, and seven reported on Wednesday. Wednesday’s count was the lowest total since July 13, when there was also seven reported deaths.

Other statistical averages are also showing promising improvements.

Through Friday, the state was averaging 629.4 new cases per day in September, after averaging 1,029.4 daily new cases in August and 2,078 daily new cases in July. The average number of hospitalizations per day in September was 708.0, compared to 1,192.4 in August and 1,303.2 in July.

The average number of ventilators in use was 109.6 per day in September, compared to 185.3 in August and 154.8 in July. Friday’s report listed just 86 ventilators in use, the lowest such count since July 1’s report of 84.

It is notable that September’s lower trends continued even after Gov. John Bel Edwards made the decision to take the state to Phase Three of re-opening. The state entered Phase Three on Friday, Sept. 11, and the current order will continue until at least Friday, Oct. 9.

The state’s trend of decreasing COVID-19 statistics also includes the re-opening of schools and the busy Labor Day weekend.

Positivity rate (the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive) is also remaining low. Friday’s report had 698 new cases reported among 18,531 tests — a positivity rate of 3.8 percent. It was the seventh straight report of a positivity rate below 5.0 percent (there are no reports on Saturdays).

In the month of September, 15 of the 22 reporting days have had a positivity rate of 5.0 percent or lower. By comparison, there were seven such days in August’s 26 reports, and zero such days in July’s 29 reports.

The amount of daily testing remains relatively consistent — the average is 15,282 tests per day in September, compared to 17,114 per day in August and 19,722 per day in July.

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