Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to discuss Louisiana's response to COVID-19 and give an update on the winter storm response.
Edwards began with a response on the Winter weather update in Louisiana.
Last weekend, Edwards was in Shreveport to speak to officials in regards to needs following the winter weather. He says there is still more work being done in regards to water systems in the Northern portions of Louisiana. 2.2 Million liters of water has been distributed.
218 boil advisories are still in place with 600,000 residents still affected. 170 systems have lifted their advisories.
Avoyelles Red River and Sabine will be receiving SNAP benefits replacements. Edwards says that replacements will be available on Saturday.
Anyone on SNAP beneftis who lost power for a significant amount of time can apply for replacements with the Department of Children and Family Services.
779 new coronavirus cases were reported on Thursday with 33 deaths. Edwards says that trends are looking better.
925,000 doses have been administered to residents in the state.
On Wednesday, The FDA put out information on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Edwards said if the vaccine is approved the state could have the vaccine as early as next week. "We believe it will happen soon." he said.
Dr. Kanter with LDH asked that anyone who can donate blood should consider doing so as the state's blood supply is low.
Kanter says that the J&J vaccine is a bit of good news for the state. With the FDA review on Wednesday, emergency use authorization could be recommended as early as Friday with the state receiving the vaccine as early as next week.
The vaccine is a one-dose vaccine and is hardier, Kanter said. "It will be a lot easier to move this vaccine out in the field." This vaccine would add to two other vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, that are already administered in the state.
Anticipating 38,000 doses on the first week if the vaccine is approved for emergency use. Kanter says the vaccine is safe and the trial of patients was broad and wide-spread across countries. 14 days after the vaccine there is already very effective at protecting recipients.
"This vaccine does what we want when you get a vaccine, it protects," Kanter said.
In terms of delivers, The state is now caught up with vaccine delivers that was delayed due to the winter weather last week. Kanter says that he expects vaccine appointments to ramp up again next week.
Below are the numbers of vaccine doses next week in Louisiana.
- 52,650 Pfizer
- 45, 000 Moderna
- 37,000 -38,0000 Johnson and Johnson (If approved for emergency use)
COVID-19 cases continue to drop in Louisiana and across the country. The largest spike in the state being after Christmas and New Years.
AS of today, lowest numer of new cases in nursing home residents. Kanter still says there is some concern over the variants. There are 18 confirmed cases of the UK variant in the state. Nation-wide there are just over 2,000 variant cases in 45 states, Kanter said.
"We know it is circulating, we know it is transmissing." Kanter says that there are no reports of the South African or the Brazilian variant in the state.
Earlier on Thursday the governor took part in a town hall event hosted by The Advocate.
During the town hall, Gov. John Bel Edwards said that he's hopeful things will be closer to normal by the end of this summer. But added that it's possible COVID will be a part of our lives for a lot longer.
"I'm not sure there's going to be an end to COVID. Just like every year you get the flu shot, it is possible that you and I for the rest of our lives will be getting an annual booster for COVID as people are supposed to get for the flu," he said
Read more on that town hall, here.
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