BATON ROUGE, La. — On Friday, May 1, Gov. John Bel Edwards held his daily media briefing on the state's response to COVID-19.
The governor showed data that he said was given to him by the CDC that convinced him to extend the Stay-At-Home Order last Sunday, April 24.
Edwards showed several slides of graphics from the CDC that showed epidemic curves of several problems areas, mainly the Louisiana Department of Health Region 2 (Baton Rouge), Region 4 (Acadiana), Region 8 (Monroe) & Region 9 (Northshore).
Another slide showed hospitalizations per capita increasing or plateauing for LDH Regions 2, 6 & 8.
Edwards said the slides showed good news and that the state is seeing progress. However, he said both Regions 2 & 8 are seeing an increase of more hospitalizations.
LDH Region 6 (Central) is plateauing, he said, while LDH Region 8, particularly the Monore area, is of greatest concern to health officials.
Edwards said that when viewing these numbers, everyone should keep in mind that there is an eight-day lag time between symptoms showing and lab results coming in to LDH.
Edwards also addressed the large number of cases being reported from LDH today, 710 new cases, and that 381 of them were because of two new testing labs coming online for the first time.
He said that If you take out the 381 from Friday's total, then it puts the state in line with the number of cases that have been reported in recent days.
Edwards said that many of these cases are days and even weeks old, and that this will happen again as more labs come on line and report their results to LDH and CDC.
Edwards also said that hospitalizations and ventilator usage overall has been better across the state in recent days, but that is not true for every region in the state.
He said that Orleans and Jefferson Parish are better than where they were just a few days ago, but if residents just focus on Orleans and Jefferson Parishes and see the improvements there, then their perception of reality is skewed, because progress is not even across the state.
Edwards added that they are not seeing a rapid rise like they did in New Orleans, but it is still very concerning and that we’ve got more work to do as the state moves toward May 15.
He said that residents must continue to work to slow the spread and follow his Stay At Home Order.
Edwards said the White House guidelines for reopening include three criteria that the state must meet before Phase 1 of reopening the state and economy can begin.
Those three criteria are a decrease across the state in the number of COVID-19-like symptoms being recorded at hospital emergency rooms; the number of COVID-19 cases; and the rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19.
"You never want to fight and bleed and die for the same thing twice," said Edwards. " When you make progress, you don't want to give it up and see a spike, and go to more restrictions. We chose to follow those guidelines, and we will make sure we meet those three things before we proceed to Phase 1."
Edwards also reminded residents that non-emergency and time-sensitive medical procedures are now open to the public for both in-patient and out-patient procedures.
He urged citizens who have health conditions and might have been putting them off during the pandemic to reach out to their doctor or primary care physician to see about them.
The governor also said that with the federal commitment on testing, state health officials will now work toward their goal of testing 4.3% of the population for COVID-19.
He did clarify that the plan from White House Advisor Dr. Deborah Birx on testing does not call for testing of those who are asymptomatic, but for those who are considered high-risk included patients who are in the hospital, nursing homes or jail.
Edwards said that the state simply is just not there on testing available for everyone including those who are asymptomtic.
On Thursday, April 30, the governor officially extended the state's stay-at-home order until May 15. Edwards says that President Trump was not opposed to his decision to extend.
More guidance on Louisiana's transition to Phase 1 of the White House's reopening plan will be announced on or by May 11.
In Thursday's briefing the governor spoke about his meeting with the President and the Coronavirus Task Force on Wednesday
To see more from Thursday's press conference, click here.
As of May 1, there were 28,711 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Louisiana, with 1,927 deaths.
The Louisiana Department of Health was reporting that 17,303 coronavirus patients are "presumed recovered."
To see the latest numbers from LDH, click here.
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