Why only 4% of COVID-19 tests are positive in Lafayette Parish with 21% statewide

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LAFAYETTE, La. — Lafayette Parish reported it’s seventh coronavirus death today and a total of 272 cases, but the area has a drastically lower positive rate of COVID-19 tests compared to the rest of the state.

One factor in how cases are counted might explain why.

The Cajundome screening site was the first drive-thru place to get tested for coronavirus in Acadiana. Before other sites opened, it was used by many people outside Lafayette Parish and that may be one reason why our numbers are so low.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported Tuesday of Lafayette Parish’s 6,800 COVID-19 tests, only 272 have returned positive. That means while the state is seeing an average of 21% of tests returning positive, Lafayette is only seeing a fifth of that at 4%, or is it?

According to Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, “That statistic is a little misleading since some of our testing load is from outside parishes.”

He explained the discrepancy saying whenever someone takes a COVID-19 test, it is counted toward the total number of tests given inside the parish they took the test, but when a positive result returns, it is counted inside the parish the person came from.

Regardless, Guillory said, “Our positivity rate is still extremely low, but for our listeners out there, it’s low because we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Lafayette Consolidated Government Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle added, “This is not the time to think about positive cases lowering, alright. This is the time to think about what we can do to keep them going down.”

Regardless of how numbers are reported, LCG partly credits local response to social distancing, hygiene, and other practices for contributing to fewer cases and is encouraged by recent data that shows a slower approach to surging hospitals.

“I have no immediate concerns that we will lack the supplies we need,” Guillory explained. “My confidence is based on the communications I’ve had with state and regional leaders.”

As the demand and need for ventilators and ICU beds escalate, Guillory’s administration assured the public his COVID-19 task force has a plan, “We’re still preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

The Mayor-President suggested if the data coming in over the next few days follows the latest daily trends, peak infection could be near, so he’s being cautiously optimistic noting where things go next is really up to us.

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