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Coronavirus cases up again, but info lags behind

Thursday, April 9, 2020
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The Louisiana Department of Health is now showing Lincoln Parish with 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but the number may be too low, parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Kip Franklin said Wednesday.

The reason: As the health crisis continues, the reports sent to local emergency preparedness directors appear to be getting further behind, and sometimes contain inaccurate information.

“It’s never been on target — we were always a day or two behind,” Franklin said.

But the gap has widened.

The last report Franklin received came Monday, the day LDH reported Lincoln Parish had 19 confirmed cases. Cases are supposed to be listed by the patient’s parish of residence.

Yet of the 19 people listed on the report, two were non-residents and one was listed twice, Franklin said. A similar situation has occurred at least one other time since the state started releasing coronavirus statistics on March 14.

“I’m trying to get an accurate list of Lincoln Parish residents who have tested positive and may be quarantined at home and let the first responders know,” Franklin said.

That way, first responders would know if they were called to a residence that is a “hot spot” for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Wednesday’s number marks the third consecutive day the number of reported local cases has increased.

Emergency response and healthcare agencies still have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, Franklin said.

“We’re doling it out very conservatively. We’re doing the best we can,” he said.

Meantime, statewide COVID-19 cases are now at 17,030. That’s an increase of 746 confirmed cases since Tuesday.

State officials continue to say the increase in confirmed cases reflects labs clearing out a backlog of tests and not necessarily an immediate surge in the virus.

The statewide death toll is up by 70, to 652.