In today’s press conference, Governor John Bel Edwards began to explain the things that Louisiana will need to achieve and accept as the “new normal” over the coming days.
One of Louisiana’s goals of recovery and re-opening will be testing, Edwards said, and officials are still working to increase the tests available. He also urged anyone with symptoms get tested, whether you think you have been exposed or not.
“There is no stigma associated with getting testing or even having COVID-19,” the governor stressed. He shared worldwide that even members of the royal family have contracted the virus. “No one should be ashamed to so get tested.”
Edwards plans to unveil more about the phased reopening of the economy over the coming days. But the plan to move forward will depend on the amount of testing that is done and the ability of officials to contact trace when a positive test result is recorded.
“As we move forward and open up economy, what we do will be informed by the testing that we do and the ability to contact trace – to go back and make sure that everyone who came into contact with someone who subsequently tested positive, during that time when that individual would have been expected to be contagious. If we’re not getting tested, we don’t have a way to do contact tracing. If you have symptoms, get tested,” said Edwards.
“We will be announcing a plan in the coming days to discuss our next steps forward, but nobody should think we’re in the clear today because we’re not. We’re not even close,” Edwards said. “The plan we have will remain in place at least until April 30, when it is scheduled to terminate.”
Edwards said the mitigation measures are not going to end when the stay-at-home order ends. Those measures will continue until a vaccine is available, he said.
“When we move forward, it will be with a plan that is consistent with the recommendations and guidelines that came from the White House Coronavirus Task Force,” Edwards said. “We’re still working on our plan, trying to figure out when we can implement it safely, and what it will entail.”
One of the mitigation measures that will be requested over the coming days is the wearing of masks or facial coverings.
“We need you wearing a mask in public and when you come into contact with people,” shared Edwards. “I say this because everybody needs to start preparing. Make sure you and everyone in your family has one. You can buy them, you can make them. Unless you’re a healthcare worker, you don’t need to purchase an N95.”
“…because when you wear a mask, you protect others, and when they wear a mask, they protect you. We’re all in this together. This is why I’m calling on Louisiana to mask up,” he said.
Neither the CDC or the LDH recommends the public wear gloves. “We are encouraging everyone to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer of soap and water are not readily available. What we find is people have a false sense of security when they wear gloves and wash their hands less frequently,” said Edwards. “So we are not encouraging that.”