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Dana Wallis, R.N., gives Mary Benton Levasseur, 7th grader, her second inoculation as West Feliciana Middle School students get a COVID -19 vaccination Friday August 13, 2021, in St. Francisville, La. The West Feliciana Parish Hospital in St. Francisville is working with West Feliciana High School to vaccinate some of its students, specifically several students who have already received their first COVID shot, but not their second yet. It's through an arrangement with West Feliciana Parish Hospital, which led a more extensive vaccination drive of local school employees this past spring. The school's principal is Karolyn Taylor.

Schools in the Baton Rouge area reported hundreds of new cases of COVID among students and dozens more among staff last week, according to new data the Louisiana Department of Health released Wednesday.

They are some of 4,009 new cases among students in K-12 schools across the state during the second week of the 2021-22 school year. That's the highest since Louisiana started requiring public and private schools across the state in September 2020 to report cases on their campuses. And the new numbers are nearly double the number of student cases reported the previous week, which was a record.

Orleans Parish had 395 student cases, the most of any of the state's 64 parishes. In the Baton Rouge region, Livingston, Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes all were among the top 10 parishes in the state in terms of new student cases. Livingston and Ascension reported more cases in a week than they had before.

Though participation increased compared with week one of the school year, many schools are still not reporting at all to LDH. But, of those that did, here's how many cases were reported in parishes in and around Baton Rouge from Aug. 16-22:

  • East Baton Rouge: 15 staff cases, 170 student cases, with 31 schools reporting
  • Ascension: 19 staff cases, 202 student cases, with 32 schools reporting
  • Livingston: 0 staff cases, 206 student cases, with 34 schools reporting
  • Tangipahoa: 29 staff cases, 118 student cases, with 25 schools reporting
  • Iberville: 0 staff cases, 31 student cases, with 9 schools reporting
  • Pointe Coupee: 5 staff cases, 21 student cases, with five schools reporting.

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Schools in West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana and St. Helena parishes all had fewer than five schools reporting. Of those parishes, St. Helena, the smallest district of the three, reported 31 student cases. It was followed by East Feliciana with 11 students cases, and West Baton Rouge with six student cases. In terms of staff, none had more than five cases.

None of the schools in West Feliciana Parish have reported any case data to the state so far this school year.

While much lower than student counts, the 484 cases among school stuff last week in Louisiana are the highest they've been since early January, when the state was at the peak of a third surge of the deadly coronavirus. St. Tammany Parish led the state with 41 staff members testing positive.

The state data shows no infections among school staff so far this school year in Livingston Parish. Superintendent Joe Murphy, however, on Friday, reported that the school district there has seen a handful of cases among school staff.


Email Matthew Albright at MAlbright@theadvocate.com