Coroner’s Update: Monthly COVID-19 cases remain low in St. John

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

As of press time, St. John Parish is showing a low level of new COVID-19 infections, a trend which started in October. We have been averaging two to three new cases of COVID-19 per day, a level that matches previous times when the COVID-19 virus was relatively quiet. This “slow” period comes on the heels of a Delta variant surge which began in July and started to ease up in September after Hurricane Ida. The peak month was August where we logged a record 1,150 cases. This compares with a mere 47 cases in November.
Fortunately, the number of deaths from COVID-19 has slowed down with only two deaths since November 1, compared to six in September and nine in October. Our vaccination rate has slowly improved, but we still have less than half of our population vaccinated, as we sit at 47%, along with St. Charles Parish at 47%. St. James Parish is lower at 43%. For the first time we now are lower than the Louisiana state average, which is 49%. For comparison, the U.S. national vaccination rate now sits at 61%. We must remain vigilant, as the recent
Omicron variant of the virus has now spread to Louisiana and our country from its origins in South Africa. So far, its effects have been relatively mild, but the Delta variant is still prominent and causing illness. Vaccination is continuing to be very effective against all current strains of COVID-19, and “booster” doses of vaccine after the primary series is showing a strong and lasting boost in immunity. Also, individuals who contracted COVID and then got vaccinated are showing very strong and lasting immunity, so much so that currently they do not require booster doses of vaccine.
We are in a slow period now, but our parish vaccination rate is below the state and national averages and we need to improve these numbers to keep up our virus immunity. The next dangerous variant could be just around the corner!