NEW ORLEANS, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press conference on Sunday afternoon to provide the latest update on Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases across the state.
Edwards took to the podium after joining New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in New Orleans for a walk-through of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center that will be used to help COVID-19 patients who no longer need to be hospitalized in order to recover.
Edwards said that state and local officials were working hard with healthcare workers in order to get ahead of the virus but that they were still playing catch up.
He said the next couple of days should show whether the mandates and precautionary measures put in place over the past few weeks have had an impact on the spread of the virus.
Edwards added that he is anxious to see real evidence that such steps have made a difference.
He mentioned that his Stay-At-Home Order is set to expire on Monday, April 13, but is monitoring the number of cases that are coming in over the next few days and may extend the order past April 13 if he feels that the state has not gotten control of the outbreak.
According to Edwards, Louisiana has the third most amount of cases in the country and is second among states in per capital deaths due to the virus, which he called disappointing.
Edwards touted the new facility, which he said should be up and running by next Sunday, with 1,000 beds that will be used for patients who are recovering from COVID-19 but that are considered "non-fragile," or not needing a ventilators or intensive care but are still hospitalized.
These patients recovering in this facility's beds will help to relieve pressure from other Region 1 hospitals treating patients of COVID-19.
Edwards said this facility may not be the only one as his team monitors the number of cases coming in and the probability of local hospitals facing surge capacity, which is an overflow of patients into local hospitals that lack bed space, workers and supplies to properly care for them.
Edwards said that he hopes that New Orleans and that Louisiana as a whole does not need facilities such as the one being set up at the Morial Center, but that would depend on how well residents adhere to social distancing measures and his Stay-At-Home Order.
Edwards said that the 60-person strike team that he had requested from FEMA had to be diverted, but that it had been replaced by a larger team of Navy service members who were on their way from Jacksonville and would be arriving shortly.
The governor said that the city and the state still had a high demand for Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, but that they were lucky to receive more than 1,000 N95 masks in the last 24 hours that were quickly distributed across the city and state as needed. He added that more PPE was still needed.
On Sunday, the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed 3,540 cases reported with 151 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 in the state.
Watch the full video of Sunday's press conference below.