Gov. John Bel Edwards said some data has begun to suggest that Louisiana's efforts toward mitigation may be having an effect.
"All these numbers are still high, and they are higher than we would like, but we are starting to see real signs that the mitigation measures we put in place weeks ago are starting to show real results," Edwards said. "We're hopeful we're beginning to see a flattening of the curve. We only have a few data points, and it's not a trend yet, but we believe we may see it."
At his daily media briefing, Edwards said new hospital admissions are trending downward. He said Louisiana's hospitals also are doing such effective work that some patients are staying on ventilators fewer days than the average is, and some patients are staying in the hospital for fewer days than the average.
He said he doesn't want anybody to feel they can get back to normal - because it is continued adherence to social distancing, stay-at-home and hygiene measures that will help the hospitals hold the line against the virus.
"Even if we are starting to see improvement in the numbers, and we're starting to see a trend that's very hopeful, we have to maintain all the practices that we've been talking about for weeks," he said.
What this hopeful information shows is that the efforts might be working, he said.
"We've bought ourselves more time," he said.
We have to continue to do those things to buy our hospitals time, he said. The data also supports that: Half of the top 20 counties in the country with the highest per-capita rate of deaths are in Louisiana, Edwards said. Last week, only a few parishes were on the list.
Edwards said the state is updating the amount of data shared on the state's dashboard on the virus. More information will be provided about the exact date someone died and what their underlying medical conditions are.
Hypertension is the leading underlying condition for Louisiana victims, he said.
One very disturbing data point: slightly more than 70 percent of deaths are African Americans. That deserves more attention, the governor said.
Edwards thanked President Donald Trump for 200 more ventilators he sent to Louisiana from the national stockpile this weekend, and for two federal testing sites in New Orleans, which helped give state health officials a lot of data they needed.
The medical monitoring station in the Convention Center opened today, with about 30 patients being treated there. The site is for patients who no longer need hospitalization but need more care than they would get if they go home.
Edwards said if you're going out on your essential trip, you should wear a mask, he said. It's not recommended you use an N95 mask, those need to go to medical providers, he said. Individuals can use cloth masks and coverings that are pretty easy to make at home, he said.
Edwards said you will see him wearing masks out in public. That doesn't mean you don't have to follow the other distancing and mitigation orders, because you do, he added.
Edwards said he knows a lot of people in Louisiana are going to miss their big family gatherings that we usually have during this time of year for the Easter holiday. He asked that everyone continue to practice social distancing and cancel the gatherings.
"Stay home to save lives," he said. "I suggest you can't do anything more Christ-like than saving lives."
Also at the press conference, Attorney General Jeff Landry gave an update on the donation he announced last week of drugs that can be used to treat COVID-19. He said he's also secured a donation of an antibiotic that's used in concert with that drug.
"These drugs don't represent a silver bullet, or a magic wand," Landry said.
However, some physicians have used them successfully to keep patients off of ventilators or out of hospitals, he said. That also will help hospitals hold the line, he said. It also will help some patients get better faster, he said.
LSU has a clinical trial underway to study the use of the drugs on the virus, Landry said. He said people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis take the same meds, so the donations also make sure those people can continue to take their meds.
At noon on Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health released an update on the number of coronavirus cases in the state.
LDH was reporting 14,867 cases with 512 deaths. 1,809 patients are currently hospitalized with 563 of those requiring ventilators.
On Sunday, April 5, there were 13,010 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Louisiana, with 477 deaths.
To see the latest from LDH, click here.