NewsCovering Louisiana


Edwards: Seeing modest improvements

Posted at 2:12 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 16:08:59-04

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he continues to see small but positive improvements in Louisiana's COVID numbers.

"What we've seen is modest but positive improvements," Edwards said. "All of those numbers are unacceptably high, but it beats the trajectory we saw after Memorial Day. We're doing better, but we've got some work left to do."

If everybody would follow the rules, the improvements would be better, he said. Louisiana still has the highest per-capita rate of infection in the United States, he noted.

"If we want as much of our economy to be open as possible, but safe; if we want our schools to be open, but safe; if we want to get as close to normalcy as possible, it is these mitigation measures that are going to allow that to happen," he said. "We can get into a transmission rate of lower than 1, but it's going to require everybody doing their part. We can do that. We're on that track now. If everybody would do their part, we would see much more dramatic results much more quickly."

He did mention the court ruling today.

"This is not the last legal challenge we will see," he said. "But I am confident that we are following the data, and we are following the recommendations of the White House task force."

Edwards said he feels he is obligated to issue these orders to protect the lives of Louisianians.

"It's not easy, but it is essential, it is legal, and we now know that it is effective," he said. "It's not theoretical, we know that it works."

The surge testing in Baton Rouge is done, and 56,711 tests were done, he said. Lafayette's surge testing will continue, he said. These surge testing sites were funded and requested by the White House task force. A lot of people who got tested didn't have symptoms - and many of them were positive, he said.

As much of 50 percent of people who are infected never have symptoms, he said, and that's why it is so hard to get control of the disease and why it's so important for everybody to wear a mask.

Dr. Gina Lagarde, Region Nine Public Health Medical Director, presented a report on her region, which is the Northshore.

"COVID is widespread on the Northshore," she said. "Our cases and deaths represent about 10 percent of those in the state."

All five parishes in her region have a higher positivity rate is higher than the CDC's 10 percent cap. But, the incidents are decreasing over the past two weeks, she added.

The hospitals in her region are at capacity right now, she said. The biggest challenge is with staffing, she said. When you have community spread, the people who work in hospitals are exposed and have fallen ill, she said.

She also showed a photo of her cousin, Nadine, who retired from Loyola and was enjoying a new career. She lived in New Orleans, and fell ill, but it was early on in the pandemic and COVID presented with GI symptoms. She died on her son's birthday, and just days before her 63rd birthday, in April, Lagarde said.

"When I hear people say it is my right no to ware a mask, it is my right to congregate in large groups. What about my right to live? What about your right? It's about doing things right and doing the right thing. Wearing masks might have saved my cousin. Socially distancing may have saved my cousin," she said. "We know these mitigation measures work."

As of August 6, the number of coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana increased by 1,303 and the number of deaths had increased by 50, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

The total number of cases in the state is now at 127,246 and 4,028 deaths as of Thursday.

LDH is reporting that 89,083 coronavirus patients are "presumed recovered" (updated weekly, last updated 8/03/20).

The LDH reports that 1,457 people are hospitalized (down 14 from Wednesday). Of those, 215 required ventilators (down 8 from Wednesday).

Parishes in Acadiana

Acadia - 2,555 cases (up 19) | 79 deaths (up 2)

Calcasieu - 6,695 cases (up 54) | 130 deaths (up 3)

Evangeline - 835 cases (up 18) | 3 deaths (up 1)

Iberia - 2,436 cases (up 24) | 70 deaths (up 1)

Jefferson Davis - 996 cases (up 13) | 26 deaths (up 2)

Lafayette - 7,424 cases (up 80) | 91 deaths (up 2)

St. Landry - 2,583 cases (up 27) | 83 deaths (up 2)

St. Martin - 1,609 cases (up 19) | 43 deaths (no change)

St. Mary - 1,527 cases (up 16) | 51 deaths (no change)

Vermilion - 1,513 (up 20) | 22 deaths (up 2)

See the full breakdown from the Louisiana Department of Health, here.