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State revamps COVID-19 numbers; parish deaths at 19

Sunday, June 21, 2020
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Only days before Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to announce whether Louisiana moves to the next phase of economic reopening, state health officials have begun counting new cases of COVID-19 in a way that lowers the overall total.

After making no novel coronavirus report on Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health on Friday said they discovered and removed 1,666 duplicate cases, as well as cases involving non-Louisianans that were still on the state’s list.

That action dropped the number of confirmed cases statewide to 48,515. But that’s still a 760-case increase over what would have been reported on Thursday, LDH said.

On Wednesday, LDH reported 48,683 cases statewide, a jump of more than 900 from the day before.

“LDH has implemented a new process for improved de-duplication and parish assignment of data received from labs around the state. In doing so, LDH identified a total of 1,666 existing duplicate cases as well as cases of out-of-state residents. These have been removed in the updated case count today,” the department posted on its website Friday.

But for Lincoln Parish, discrepancies remain between the state reporting and the lists received by the local Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

According to LDH, as of noon Friday, Lincoln Parish had 269 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and an additional death, for a total of 19 deaths attributed to the virus. The 269 cases is a 10-case jump over Wednesday’s 259 cases.

Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Kip Franklin said his list, as of Friday, showed 279 cases of COVID-19, but only 16 deaths.

“There will never be any way to explain these numbers that I can tell,” Franklin said.

From the start, reports forwarded to parish officials have lagged behind other tallies, had duplicate entries and, in some cases, non-parish residents in the numbers.

Most of the duplications seem to have happened when an individual was tested more than once.

Meanwhile, of the case reported statewide, LDH said as many as 93% are the result of community spread.

Because of that, officials continued to urge residents to wear masks, social distance, stay away from crowds and wash their hands frequently.

Franklin said his observation is that Lincoln Parish residents are about “50-50” in wearing masks.