Edwards: The curve is not flattening yet

Governor Edwards 3-24.PNG
Posted at 12:15 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 16:13:06-04

Gov. John Bel Edwards asked citizens again to heed requirements for mitigation measures, saying the state's "curve" hasn't started to flatten yet.

Edwards said that President Trump had signed his request for a major disaster declaration, which ensures that Louisiana is "part of the conversation" on the national level.

He again focused on asking citizens to continue with mitigation measures, because there has been no flattening of the curve in the state.

That's of concern because hospitals in New Orleans could run out of ventilators by the first week in April. That's even with several hundred that are being allocated over the next couple of days, he said.

Edwards said the supplies coming in but are being distributed completely on a daily basis; the National Guard is shipping supplies starting at 3 a.m. daily. Apple is donating masks to Louisiana, he said, and thanked them for the donation.

Even though only 48 of 64 parishes with positive case, Edwards said the virus is everywhere.

"I can assure the public, COVID is present in every single parish across the state. This virus has spread across the state of Louisiana. This is real, and our state and everyone in it should take it very seriously," Edwards said.

That means following the mitigation measures, so the supplies, the ventilators and the hospital beds will be sufficient to take care of those who are sick, he said.

"We know they will work, but they will only work to the degree that people comply with them," Edwards said. "Make sure that you're doing what we've asked of you. Limit contact, limit travel. Don't leave the house more than absolutely necessary. Follow those social distancing guidelines. Make sure continue to wash hands, hand sanitizer, control your cough, stay home when you are sick."

Edwards said he knows that some are heeding the advice, "but we also know we are not where we want to be."

"We're going to have to stick with these measures. We have to start flattening the curve. We have not seen that yet, and we have to do it, so we do not present more patients to our hospitals than they can care for," he said. "We're already putting severe demand on our hospitals."

On the national level, Edwards said that an agreement is in place for a relief package, but the details are still being ironed out.

"We are working to get our hands on that language to identify all the benefits we can take advantage of: funding, flexibility, anything to provide assistance to Louisiana, local government, businesses and employees, we are looking for every bit of assistance that we can make available as quickly as possible," he said.

Edwards noted that he believes there will be some assistance in the bill for workers who are 1099, independent contractors or self-employed people.

Edwards was asked about how many people are "recovered," and he said he doesn't believe any state is reporting data about recovered patients, and he has asked the CDC for guidance on what that means and what criteria would need to be met.

One reporter asked the governor about companies still operating. He said he's been talking to industry organizations to keep them advised of what's required. In response to a question about "hazard pay" for oil and gas workers, he said that's up to each individual business.

He also said the stay-at-home order is "not as complicated as some people seem to want it to be." Everyone who can should stay home. Everyone who goes to work needs to follow the guidance on social distancing, disinfecting high-touch surfaces and washing their hands frequently.


This article will be updated with information following the briefing.

As of Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 1,795 cases of COVID-19 in the state.

So far, 65 people have died.

In Wednesday's update, numbers in Acadiana rose again. Lafayette having the most reported cases, now at 20.

Acadia, Evangeline and Iberia Parishes each have two cases. St. Martin and Jeff Davis Parish have one. St. Landry Parish has four and St. Mary has five confirmed cases.

Calcasieu Parish is reporting 11 cases. They are now reporting one death.

Vermilion Parish still has no reported cases.

There are 48 parishes in total reporting cases of COVID-19.