Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing Saturday afternoon with updates on the state's response to the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.
Gov. Edwards held a private meeting with the state's Unified Command Group Saturday morning before the briefing, and he said the latest numbers came in as the meeting was wrapping up.
There have been two cases confirmed by the CDC. The Louisiana Department of Health says 178 tests have been administered thus far.
Edwards said health and government officials expected the number of cases to rise rapidly. With the latest numbers, he added, it is believed that Louisiana is third or fourth in the country for cases per capita.
He emphasized that the state is continuing to take measures to help stop the spread of the virus, including banning public gatherings with more than 250 people.
Many have been concerned that "gatherings of over 250 people" included church services. Gov. Edwards noted that his proclamation didn't cancel any church services, saying that he appreciates church leaders and their assistance during this time.
"Every single person in our state has a role to play," Edwards stated. "It's time to be good neighbors. It's time to think of our brothers and sisters. Especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions."
Everyone who entered the building for the media briefing had their temperature taken. The same happened this morning as President Trump and Vice President Pence provided an update from the Coronavirus Task Force. A staffer was turned away, reportedly after they recorded a temperature over the CDC guidelines.
Gov. Edwards said there are nine cases at Lambeth House, an assisted living facility in New Orleans.
Regarding the closure of schools and districts providing lunch to students, Edwards said the Department of Health is working with all districts in the state. He said it is his expectation that lunch will be provided to students in all districts in Louisiana.
FEMA and Health and Human Services in Washington have reportedly reached out to state government with an offer to set up a drive-thru testing site. Gov. Edwards said the process is in "the very early stages," but the state will not pass up the opportunity if it is provided.
Finally, Gov. Edwards explained that health officials are conducting COVID-19 testing at the state public health lab in Baton Rouge three times a day and utilizing a courier service to keep up with demand.
Latest statistics from the Louisiana Department of Health (3/13 12:15 p.m.):
The next scheduled press conference is Monday, barring new significant updates.
Watch the full media briefing below: