Coroner’s Report: St. John Parish sees upswing in COVID-19 cases

Published 3:17 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2022

BY DR. CHRISTY MONTEGUT

 

June saw a continued month-over-month increase of COVID-19 infection, with 272 cases reported in June compared to 164 cases in May. This has occurred after two very quiet months in March and April, which saw only 33 cases in each of those months.

This latest outbreak has lasted longer than previous outbreaks, but has been milder with fewer total cases, and has resulted in much lower levels of patients hospitalized for COVID infection. We did record two COVID related deaths in June, which were our first deaths since mid-March.

The first week of July has shown a continued outbreak of cases, as we have averaged 12 new infections daily.

Along with this unusually long outbreak has been the discovery of two new variant mutations of the virus, which now account for roughly 75% of all COVID infections in Louisiana. These variants appear to be very contagious but have not resulted in increased hospitalization and death. These new strains are being monitored closely and bear watching for the remainder of the summer.

Our best defense against COVID-19 continues to be vaccination, along with masking and social distancing. It is recommended that anyone over age 60 should receive a booster shot if it’s been more than six months since their last dose of vaccine. Adults under age 60 should also consider booster doses of vaccine as COVID infection has been found to cause a 40% increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus in a person’s lifetime. There is also the risk of developing long COVID syndrome, which can cause prolonged symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive brain dysfunction, which can cause permanent disability.