COVID-19 cases skyrocket in state
“If you wait for these numbers to grab your attention, guess what? You just let the virus win,” a visibly distressed Governor John Bel Edwards reiterated of Louisiana’s new Coronavirus cases at a Thursday afternoon press conference. State COVID-19 cases soared Thursday to a one-day record of 2,726 new cases as a tidal wave of test results arrived mostly from private testing companies. “These numbers are startling, more than twice the previous day’s report,” Edwards said of the results, “and we have more people dying [per capita] because we have more people with diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease. But we also have a lot more COVID-19 in Louisiana than we previously thought as the last three days of test results have unequivocally shown. One model shows we can expect 1,824 Louisianans to die. This remains a very serious public health emergency.”
Louisiana Department of Health officials say 37 more Louisianans did die from Wednesday to Thursday for a total count of 310 deaths related to COVID-19.
“I must reiterate that gatherings at public entertainment and non-essential venues remain closed,” Edwards stated but became emphatic when questioned how the state planned to enforce such a massive lockdown. “The order [to temporarily close a business] is law and whenever law enforcement sees a business open, they are empowered to close that business on the spot,” Edwards said, “which may involve charges and the loss of their occupational license. If Louisianans are going to insist that we enforce our way through this, then we are going to have a very difficult time trying to flatten the curve.”
The numbers show the curve hasn’t flattened so far, especially in the state’s urban areas. But Thursday’s results, the governor admitted, “are jarring.”
“I’m counting on the goodness and decency of the people of Louisiana to cooperate,” he pleaded. “If we don’t greatly limit social contact and then we exceed the capacity of our healthcare facilities [to handle the influx], that will directly correlate to the number of people who will die.
“And understand that this is not just a problem for New Orleans or Jefferson Parish or Shreveport or Baton Rouge, this is all across the state. The guidance out of the White House says that in the rural areas where you don’t have a large case count so far, don’t breathe easy. The time is now to take action to make sure you don’t get the cases. Because you are always further behind this virus than you think you are.”
The governor again asked citizens to limit their exposure by limiting trips outside their homes, to protect themselves and their families. He thanked those who are complying. “We can tell by cellphone GPS studies that many areas in Louisiana are doing extremely well in complying with ‘stay-at-home,’” he said, “but others are not doing well at all. Everybody is going to take this seriously at some point but it’ll probably be when there’s a death close to them.”