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Edwards: Pray for health care providers

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Posted at 12:44 PM, Apr 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 13:44:42-04

Gov. John Bel Edwards held his daily briefing in front of a wall of hearts today.

The hearts, posted on the wall of a conference room at the Mid-City Campus of Baton Rouge General Medical Center, represent those who were released from the facility after being successfully treated for COVID-19.

The campus, which was closed several years ago, was reopened recently strictly to care for COVID-19 patients. It has been manned by BRGMC staff and staff provided by the U.S. Navy and the Louisiana National Guard. There were about 40 hearts on the wall.

"One of the greatest things I’ve seen since this started is this wall behind me and those hearts," the governor said. "I’m very very thankful, and I hope there will be many more hearts on this wall, and I believe that there will be."

Edwards said, as he frequently does, that the numbers quoted and the hearts on the wall aren't just numbers; they're someone's mama or daddy, sister or brother, daughter or son. He asked Louisianians to continue to pray for COVID patients and for those who care for them.

"When we pray to God to bring comfort and peace and healing to these COVID patients, he sends health are professionals. They really are an answer to our prayers. So we need to pray for those individuals, that they will have the grace and the courage and the strength to be able to do what they are doing day after day and continue making that positive difference."

Edwards reported Sunday's numbers, which as is usual for Sundays were relatively low: 348 new cases for a total of 23,928 and 29 new deaths, for a total of 1,296.

Edwards acknowledged that Sunday numbers generally are lower, but said he hopes to continue to see lower numbers. Definitely there are fewer people in hospitals and on ventilators, and that's very promising, he said.

"It still appears we are trending in a good direction, and that’s a good thing. A month ago, we had the fastest case growth in the world. We’re in a much better place than we thought we were going to be, and it’s because of the citizens of Louisiana who are taking the stay-at-home order seriously," Edwards said.

It will be some time before things get back to normal, he said. Before "normal" life can resume, we will need a vaccine, more health care facilities ready to take on COVID patients, and more contact tracing, he said.

When asked about tests, PPE and other supplies, Edwards said this isn't like a normal disaster. Louisiana is pretty used to disasters, unfortunately, but this one is different, because it's not a localized impact, he said. Every other state and 160 other countries have the same needs that Louisiana does, so we can't rely on the same level of help from other states or the federal government, he said.

Edwards said a main concern now is to get clinics and hospitals ready to receive non-emergency and non-COVID cases and procedures. Those have been cut off for now, and that can't continue for long, he said.

Here's the full presser: