Coroner’s April Update: Quiet phase of COVID-19 continues

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

BY DR. CHRISTY MONTEGUT

ST. JOHN PARISH CORONER

LAPLACE — The month of April continued to show an almost non-existent number of COVID cases, with an average of only one case per day in St. John Parish. This follows up on the same low case count in March.

As of press time, since March 1, St. John has tallied a total of only 54 cases in 55 days, along with three deaths. Thus, we have been in a “quiet” phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two months, similar to the “quiet” phase we had in October and November of 2021 which was followed by huge Omicron variant surge in December and January.

Currently, the dominant COVID strain is now Omicron Sub variant BA.2, which has been isolated in more than 50% of cases in Louisiana and across the country. This has caused an uptick of cases in the Northeastern United States, but has not yet reached Louisiana. So far the increase in cases has not resulted in an increase of hospitalizations, indicating that this sub variant is causing a milder degree of illness.

New vaccinations have ground to a halt, as the state vaccination rate is still at 53% and the parish rate nudged up from 59% to 60% in the past month.

Vaccinations are still readily available and are still found to be effective against all of the COVID variants. We always seem to get complacent about vaccination between the COVID surges. We’ve seen in the past that this virus can mutate and cause an explosion of new cases around the world within a few weeks, so we all need to stay vigilant about new outbreaks and new advances in prevention and treatment.

The St. John Parish Council on Aging is offering free at-home COVID-19 test kits and no-cost vaccinations from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, May 10. No appointment is needed.