COVID summer finally over as new cases decline

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2022

LAPLACE — The long summer surge of BA.5 COVID cases in St. John the Baptist Parish has finally begun to wind down. It started around the end of May and provided a steady and sustained rise in cases which has gradually subsided in the past two weeks.

Since my last report, the peak of cases was in July, with 337 new cases being reported. August saw a decline to 225 cases, with September reporting 106 cases as of press time. These numbers are small in comparison to the surge of 1,150 cases recorded in August 2021, and the record number of 2,230 cases in January 2022. These smaller numbers also did not overwhelm our hospital systems, as cases were milder with less severe symptoms.

We have recorded only two COVID-related deaths in St. John since the end of May, as the death rate from COVID has dropped dramatically since March of this year.

Vaccination levels in the general population in Louisiana have leveled off in the past six months, with 62% having at least one dose and 54% having two doses. The percentage of people who have received booster shots is currently not available. Our parish numbers are similar to the state number, while nationwide the number of people who have received two doses of vaccine sits at 68%. Recently updated versions of the COVID vaccine are now available and offer slightly improved protection against the newer COVID variants.

With an estimated 95% of our population either having two vaccine doses or having acquired COVID infection, we have reached some level of acquired immunity in our country. Hopefully this will make COVID vaccinations a yearly event, similar to influenza vaccination.