Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference today to provide his weekly update on the coronavirus in Louisiana.
Earlier on Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health announced it would not be updating the dashboard or releasing new data. Edwards said the reason for this was to make sure there are no duplicates in the final tally. He reminded the public that the numbers we see daily on the dashboard are the same numbers provided to him.
Edwards did confirm one number, and that is the state saw seven more deaths. This brings the death toll to 2,950.
According to the governor, in the past seven days, more than 4,200 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state. He stated that this number excludes outdated tests and numbers of cases for Thursday that the health department is still reviewing. We can expect that tomorrow’s number will be high, as it will include Thursday and Friday’s updates.
Edwards was very direct in his statements today: “Every person in Louisiana needs to do a gut check on if he or she is slacking off in taking the proper precautions. We need people to wear their masks, wash their hands, practice social distancing, stay home if you’re sick. These things are as important today as they were at the height of the pandemic.”
The governor reiterated the use of masks, following social distancing guidelines, and staying at home if considered high risk. Edwards reminded the public that just because a place of business is open, doesn’t mean you need to visit. He encouraged the public to be smart about their decisions when selecting places to visit for shopping or eating: If a local restaurant is overly crowded and people aren’t socially distanced, don’t go. If a place isn’t following guidelines, don’t go.
Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary of Health for the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health, reviewed data from each Region to show where progress has been made and where we are lacking. Region 3, which includes Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, has had just a small increase in recent days, but other regions in the state are having greater increases. He reminded the public that while the state is testing at higher rates than we were a few months ago, new cases in recent days are coming in at higher rates than tests are increasing, which is a cause for concern. In the past 14 days, hospitalizations statewide are also down, but in the last week, the number has gone up slightly.
Edwards said he would review the latest data Monday and make an announcement on whether or not the state will move into Phase 3 reopening. In regards to moving into phase three, that the data shows so far Louisiana is not there yet.