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Test numbers corrected to reflect residency

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Posted at 3:11 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-26 17:06:09-04

For those watching local press conferences and the numbers on the state's dashboard, the COVID-19 numbers might have been confusing last week.

At his regular Friday presser, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory reported 17,734 tests for the parish, with only 440 cases of the disease. That sounds pretty good, relatively speaking, as it is only about 2 percent of tests turning out to be positive.

However, we have learned that the number of tests reported by the state by parish were not being adjusted for parish of residency until after it was positive. In other words, if someone from Crowley was tested in Lafayette and turned up positive, their test would be counted for Lafayette - but their positive result would be counted for Acadia.

Since Lafayette was one of the first places you could get a test in Acadiana, many people - about 10,000 - came from other parishes to be tested here at the Cajundome.

So, while by Friday there had been 17,734 tests administered in Lafayette, only some of those people lived in Lafayette Parish.

As of today, Lafayette has 443 cases and 17 deaths. And, a total of 8,234 Lafayette residents have tested for the virus. That's a 5 percent positive rate.

But both percentages are below the 10 percent benchmark set by the World Health Organization to determine how well your testing program is working. If an area has a very high percentage of positives, it probably means that there are not enough tests being conducted, WHO says.

This past week, state officials have been adding more detail to the dashboard and cleaning up issues like this. To look at the state's dashboard - which has a very high level of detail, including per-parish data, click here.

It is important to remember that there are lags in the data. For instance, deaths are generally not reported to the state on the day they occur. Paperwork and reporting procedures mean there's usually several days between the actual date of death and the date that death is added to the state or parish counts. Also, some test results don't come back until after the patient has died.

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