Coroner’s Update: January saw peak numbers of COVID-19 infection

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

LAPLACE — The month of January saw a huge explosion of COVID-19 cases in St. John Parish. Actually, from Christmas Day of 2021 through the end of January 2022, we recorded an astonishing number of 2,230 new COVID cases, mainly due to the new Omicron variant. Despite these huge numbers, we recorded only three COVID related deaths during this time.

The previous monthly record for new COVID cases in St. John was an August 2021 when we recorded 1,130 cases during the height of the Delta variant outbreak. During this period, we recorded 10 deaths due to Delta. As you can see, while the Omicron variant was much more contagious and spread at a faster rate, it didn’t cause as many deaths as the Delta variant. Another astonishing figure is that from October 31 (Halloween) to December 25 (Christmas Day), our parish recorded only 210 new COVID cases, along with just two related deaths. We truly have been on a roller coaster ride with COVID cases in the past six months!

Our parish vaccination numbers have steadily increased in the past six months from a reading of 37% fully vaccinated in July 2021 to now 57%. For comparison, our Louisiana state average is 51.7%, while the national average is 64% in the United States. The COVID vaccines have shown to be effective at reducing severe disease, hospitalization and death from the Omicron variant, although it may not fully protect against mild cases of infection. Receiving a third booster dose of vaccine has shown to reduce cases of infection and mild disease.

At the present time, the current surge of Omicron infection seems to be declining from the peak numbers seen around January 20. Hopefully this decline will continue to allow us to celebrate a much-awaited Mardi Gras season.