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Next two weeks will determine Phase II

Gov. Edwards
Posted at 11:16 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 15:30:07-04

The numbers over the next two weeks will determine if Louisiana will move into Phase II in June, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday.

"I anticipate collecting data over next 14 days to see if we meet the criteria for entering Phase II," he said. "I expect to announce on June 1 what we can expect on June 5, so people can get ready."

That means it is up to the people of Louisiana - if they continue to practice social distancing, wear masks and avoid large gatherings - we may be able to move to Phase II in June, he said.

The state has set up a new crisis line for people who need support during the pandemic, Edwards announced Monday.

The crisis text line is open 24/7 and available to anyone who needs some support, someone to talk to, or is having a mental health crisis.

All you have to do is text REACHOUT to 741741, he said, to reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.

"I want to say to everyone, make sure you take care of yourself," Edwards said.

There's been plenty of emphasis on protecting yourself and others from the virus, but everyone also needs to "Maintain your physical and mental well-being. It’s always OK to ask for help," he said.

In response to media questions about proposed budget cuts that affect healthcare, the governor said he thinks that's a bad idea, given that the state is in the midst of a public health crisis.

Specifically, he said the state has been told to prepare, if not anticipate, another wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall.

Also in response to a media question, Edwards said he has not ordered businesses to require masks, but it's the responsible thing to do. He said it's not that much of an inconvenience when you see how it can help protect people and keep the number of cases down.

In response to another question, Edwards said he's not sure why people are getting upset about contact tracing, because we've been doing it for decades. He said he would think that anyone exposed to the virus would want to know about it.

"We know it's responsible, and we know that it works. And we know if we want some semblance of normalcy - not normalcy but some semblance of it - before we get a vaccine, this is the way to do it," he said.

KATC will live stream the 2:00 pm press conference on KATC, KATC.com and the KATC Facebook page.

In Monday's update, the state was reporting 34,709 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Louisiana. That is 277 more cases than were reported on Sunday.

An additional 15 deaths were also reported in the state bring the total to 2,440.

The number of presumed recovered coronavirus patients in Louisiana grew on Monday to 26,249.

The Louisiana Department of Health updates its numbers each day at noon.

To see the latest from LDH and a breakdown of cases by parish, click here.

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