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Study: Majority of capital area's coronavirus cases have been asymptomatic

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BATON ROUGE - A study performed by the Ochsner Health System suggests that about 60 percent of those infected with the coronavirus in the capital region have shown no signs of being sick.

The findings were part of a prevalence study performed in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston and West Baton Rouge parishes from July 15-31.

"This proves that there is a high instance of people who are asymptomatic that actually are carrying the virus and can be shedding the virus and spreading it," Chief Medical Officer Robert Hart said.

Based on the study and state data, Ochsner says 9.7 percent of residents in the Greater Baton Rouge region had contracted the virus by Aug. 2.

Other findings include the percentage of active cases among each parish's population at the time.

West Baton Rouge had the highest rate of active infections, with 5.3 percent. Ascension was the lowest with 1.9 percent. Livingston and East Baton Rouge parishes had active case rates of 4.2 and 2.8, respectively.

Additionally, Black residents had the highest rate of past infections, at 7.5 percent. White and Hispanic populations had past infection rates of 1.8 and 1.6 percent.

"It was a two-fold higher prevalence among African-Americans than whites. The other thing we saw in Baton Rouge is Hispanics are also bearing a disproportionate burden in the Baton Rouge Area," Dr. Leo Seoane said.

With the high number of people who showed no symptoms, doctors are once again urging the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and following proper hand washing guidelines.

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