Today's cases show highest increase since April

Louisiana State Capitol Building
Posted at 2:02 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 15:26:28-04

A total of 1,356 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Louisiana since yesterday, bringing the past week's numbers to a level the state hasn't seen since April.

The Louisiana Department of Health reports that Louisiana had the third largest single-week increase in cases last week, beaten only by the first two weeks of April during the upswing.

The vast majority (95%) of today’s increase in case growth is tied to community spread rather than congregate settings like nursing homes, state officials say.

In terms of timeline, the specimen collection date of 97% of these cases ranges from June 15 to June 23, i.e., today’s big increase is not tied to a backlog.

The percent positivity of test results reported to the state is 7.6%; the federal goal is to keep this figure below 10%.

Unfortunately, LDH also reports an additional 17 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 3,021 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“We are quite concerned by today’s COVID-19 numbers and the overall direction we are moving in,” said Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health. “What we are seeing appears to be connected to increased movement, a lot of which is probably related to further reopening of the economy and at least some individuals not adhering to recommended precautions. We are seeing significant COVID-19 spread related to people congregating in groups with little to no social distancing or masking. The largest increase in cases is among young adults.”

Some folks are following the rules, officials acknowledge.

“We know many Louisianans are doing the right thing – and we thank them for it. As the Governor said yesterday, this is a deadly, highly contagious virus. It does not take many of us slipping up to spread quickly,” said Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

It's important, as people are going more places, that they continue to adhere to the mitigation measures: wear a mask, keep at least six feet between you and people you don't live with, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you're sick.

“Just because we are in Phase 2 does not mean there is no risk involved when we go out in public. As more businesses open and more people leave their homes, it is more important now than ever to protect ourselves and others by masking up and staying 6 feet apart,” said Kimberly Robinson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue. “If you are walking into a business and you see others who are not wearing masks, you should walk right back out. From the person who collects the state’s money, I’m telling you to let your wallet talk.”

Employees are required to wear masks to protect patrons.

LDH recommends against going to establishments where staff are not masking and advises patrons to wear masks to protect staff.