LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Acadiana has become one of Louisiana’s biggest hot spots in the spread of COVID-19, and officials are sharing data and statistics to prove it.
Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health Region 4 Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski said in just over two weeks (June 10-26), the Acadiana region has nearly tripled its hospitalizations (from 38 to 95). She said the increases in the case counts reflect a community spread greater than 90%.
Acadiana sees large one-day case growth
Overall, the Acadiana region has seen an 8% jump in COVID-19 cases in just a single day. Evangeline and Vermilion showed the largest growth in the virus, with 15% and 19%, respectively.
The increases in COVID-19 cases has also pushed the positivity rate for Acadiana higher than the state’s percentage. While 7.8% of those tested across Louisiana have been positive for COVID-19, that rate is at 9.2% for Region 4 in Acadiana. The federal goal is to keep those percentages lower than 10%.
Acadiana is also leading the largest spike in cases across the state, according to data through June 20.
What’s driving the spread?
So, what’s driving the increases? Stefanski said it could be coming from people not quarantining for a full 14 days.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding about the issue of quarantine among the general public and, many people are returning to work and social gatherings when they should not be,” said Stefanski.
Stefanski said close contacts of infected persons should be for a full 14 days. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more, of someone who tests positive.
“We are getting numerous reports that close contacts of cases are seeking negative tests in order to end their quarantine period earlier. That is incorrect,” she said.
Even if a close contact tests negative, they must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days. The test is only a reflection of a person’s COVID-19 status at the time of testing and could change in the days following testing, said Stefanski.
Acadiana hospitals see more cases driven by younger people
Furthermore, Stefanski showed that Lafayette General Medical Center and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center are both within the top 10 for Louisiana hospitals with COVID-19 patients. Lafayette General shows up in the No. 4 spot, while Lourdes comes in at the No. 6 spot.
Unlike the beginning of the pandemic in Louisiana, young people are driving the biggest spread of the virus, especially among the 18-29 age group.
So, what do we do?
Stefanski said Acadiana residents have the power to slow the spread by following three simple actions:
- Hand hygiene.
- Social distancing: put distance between yourself and other people when you are outside of your home.
- Face coverings: cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others in the public.
She also said there is a difference between being an infected person in isolation and being a close contact under quarantine. You can download and read the difference between the two below: