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Edwards: State hospitals have begun receiving Remdesivir to treat COVID-19

Gov. Edwards
Posted at 8:47 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 22:35:49-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — On Friday, May 22, Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing on the state's response to COVID-19.

Edwards announced that hospitals around the state had been receiving doses of the drug Remdesivir to help treat patients with COVID-19.

Edwards said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had given the drug the go ahead to begin treating the virus shortly after his visit to the White House last month.

According to Edwards, the Food and Drug Administration had already given three allocations to Louisiana on Friday, May 14 and May 19.

Edwards said that 1,200 vials of Remdesivir had been given to 44 hospitals on May 14; 3,366 vials were delivered to 44 hospitals on May 19; and there were 3,828 vials delivered to 47 hospitals on May 22.

Edwards said one vial of Remdesivir equals one treatment. There are two different treatments regiments that are administered in either five-day or 10-day increments, and it usually takes seven vials to treat one individual.

Edwards said that hospitals are selected to receive the drug based on their individual COVID-19 caseload. Any hospital with five or more in-patients with COVID-19 an allocation. However, any hospital with less than five in-patients may request the drug if they have a patient that they believe the drug would help.

Edwards also confirmed that with 36,925 confirmed cases of coronavirus, most cases in congregate settings are asymptomatic, and that 35% of cases in the state are shown to be asymptomatic.

The governor said that thanks to the GOHSEP and the National Guard, there have been mobile testing sites set up in LDH Regions 1, 2, 5 & 8.

He said that as of Friday that there had been 143,177 tests for COVID-19, which is closer to his stated goal of 200,000 COVID-19 tests in May across the state. He added that the goal was only 56,000 tests short with nine days left to go.

Edwards said that 400 individuals across the state had been hired as contact tracers.

Edwards also noted that the Louisiana Department of Education had received more than 330,000 applications for the Pandemic EBT program already for students who would usually recieve free and reduced price meals.

Friday marks a week since the state entered Phase One of reopening.

On May 22, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 36,925 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. This includes 421 additional cases than were reported yesterday.

A total of 2,545 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. This includes 39 more deaths than were reported yesterday.

The LDH is reporting that 26,249 coronavirus patients are "presumed recovered" (updated weekly).

Thursday's case numbers grew by 1,188 from Wednesday due to the introduction of data from 23 labs that have now begun reporting cases electronically to the Louisiana Department of Health. Some of those cases, according to LDH, dated back to March 25 and were previously not reported.

"While this is the biggest single increase in cases we have seen since April 9, it is important to understand the context," said Dr. Alex Billioux, the assistant secretary of the Office of Public Health. "Not only are there cases here dating back to late March, but we also have increased testing. That only 6.1% of all these test results are positive is a good sign. Our goal is to keep that number below 10%, the goal set by the federal government."

"We believe we are beginning to see the impact of comprehensive testing across congregate settings and workplace outbreaks. This is what suppression of COVID-19 looks like-and it is critical to moving our state forward," Dr. Billioux said.

LDH says it expects to see higher case counts in the coming days as testing ramps up in the state.

The number of patients "presumed recovered" from the coronavirus remains at 26,249.

LDH updates the state's numbers each day at noon.

To see the latest numbers and a breakdown by parish, click here.

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