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No overnight virus jump, but death toll climbs

Friday, August 21, 2020
No overnight virus jump, but death toll climbs

For the first time since April, Lincoln Parish has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 overnight. However, the death toll continues to rise.

As of noon Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health showed the parish with 867 cases — the same number as Wednesday — but with an additional death from an already confirmed case.

Forty parish residents have now died of the respiratory illness since the pandemic hit in March. This week alone, the known deaths have increased by five so far.

The grim trend is one about which state officials, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, have warned: Additional deaths often follow climbing case counts.

As of Thursday, the increase in COVID-19 cases for this week was lower than previous weeks. From Sunday through Thursday, the parish posted 11 new cases. For the same time the previous week, the parish posted 22 new cases.

However, the virus continues to hit the Black community harder than any other groups, both in diagnosed cases and deaths.

LDH updates data for parishes with 25 or more total deaths each Wednesday using data through the previous Monday. Thus, both the total case count and death toll are lower than the numbers released Thursday.

Of the 37 Lincoln Parish deaths posted on the LDH dashboard as of Monday, 22 of the victims were black. That’s roughly 60%.

Likewise, of the 851 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, 315 were among Black residents, the highest in any one category listed. That’s 37% of the total cases, which continues to match closely with the proportion of total parish population the Black community comprises: roughly 40%.

However, white residents, which make up some 56% of the population, constitute about 21% of the virus case count, a 1% increase over the previous data.

The figures show 182 cases among white residents, 259 among residents of “other” races and 59 of unknown ethnicity. The local racial impact of COVID-19 tracks similar trends both for Louisiana and the nation.