Coroner’s Update: June marks 1st month without COVID-19 deaths in St. John

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2021

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For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, St. John Parish went an entire month without recording a death from the COVID-19 virus in June. For the month, our parish recorded 76 new cases of COVID-19 infection, compared to 78 cases in May and 55 in April. As of press time, we have seen a slight uptick in new cases of COVID-19 in the first week of July.

This marks the fourth month in a row where new COVID cases have remained at a steady low level, averaging two to three cases per day. The death rate from COVID 19 has averaged two cases per month during this time, again a relatively low number. This occurred despite a vaccination rate of only 40% of our population, compared to a statewide rate of 36% of people who have received at least one shot of vaccine.

Vaccination rates have slowed dramatically in the past two months, and we need to continue our efforts to vaccinate as many people as we can. The new Delta variant is now the dominant strain in our state and is more contagious than the original strain of virus. The COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be effective against all strains of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. In fact, 99.5% of the COVID-19 deaths in this country have occurred in people who have not been vaccinated, compared with only 0.5% of deaths in vaccinated people. Thus, the evidence clearly shows that the vaccine is very effective at preventing death from COVID-19 and the few number of infections in vaccinated people have been much milder in severity. The vaccine continues to be safe with relatively mild side effects being reported.

However, the new Delta variant strain bears watching as our vaccination rate lags behind the national average of 48%.