St. Mary Parish among “highest risk” for spread of COVID-19

St. Mary Parish

ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Only two of Louisiana’s 64 parishes have the highest risk of COVID spread in Louisiana.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health website, highest risk means “Widespread, uncontrolled transmission with many undetected cases”.

The state map shows St. Mary Parish and Point Coupee Parish are the only parishes with more than 100 incidents per 100,000 residents.

“The incidents in a small parish can be affected pretty quickly by cluster,” explained Louisiana Department of Health Region 3 Medical Director Dr. Chip Riggins.

Risk Category is determined by the higher of the two indicators: if you have over 100 cases per 100,000 residents or over 10% positivity, your parish would be at highest risk, like St. Mary Parish who had 104 cases per 100,000.

Dr. Chip Riggins said, “The fact that we continue to have these relatively high rates of transmission even in rural areas means there’s the ability for even further mutation.”

The mutated Delta Variant now makes up one in four Louisiana cases according to State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter. He also says the number of cases is doubling every two to three weeks.

Dr. Riggins admitted, “I worry that folks don’t really appreciate the gamechanger that the delta virus is, and that they are willing to sort of take a chance on it. It’s orders of magnitudes more transmissible.”

Doctors are seeing higher numbers within households or clusters, especially indoors and even with children who have the lowest rates of vaccination.

“Trying to get on top of it with vaccine and trying to get our rates down as low as we possibly can now is our imperative,” urged Dr. Riggins.

Just based on the vaccination rate across South Louisiana, Riggins said doctors are worried about all their parishes. Each vaccination has proven to be over 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations or death from the delta variant.

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