NewsCovering Louisiana


Edwards: Hold the line on mitigation measures

Gov. Edwards
Posted at 7:42 AM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 16:18:15-04

Governor John Bel Edwards said he's hearing there are more people out and about today, and he hopes that's not true.

"I hope nobody heard what we said yesterday and took it as our being able to let our guard down," he said. "We need everybody to be very patient."

With Easter coming up, Edwards warned people not to let down their guard for family gatherings.

"This Easter is not going to look like other Easters. I get it," he said. "But the virus is not going to take a day off."

Edwards said some data indicate Louisiana's curve may be starting to flatten, but that's not definite yet.

"The number of new hospitalizations indicate that we may have started to flatten the curve, but our rate of patients who are dying is not in agreement with that," he said. "These two essential data points are not in agreement."

As of noon on April 8, the Louisiana Department of Health says there are now has 17,030 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This includes 746 additional cases since Tuesday.

LDH reported that 652 people in the state have died of the disease. This includes 70 additional deaths since Tuesday.

The governor also pointed out that, if you combine the number of hospital admissions with the number of those who are suspected to have the virus but are awaiting test results, the number is up, not down. He said most people who are suspected to have the virus end up testing positive.

Edwards said there is a decrease in the number of patients in hospitals on ventilators.

"That is a good trend, and it is due in large part due to medical processes that are being pioneered here in Louisiana," he said. There are lessons learned here that will constitute best practices that other parts of the country are starting to pay attention to."

The governor did have good news on unemployment: The state last night received the funding for the $600 increase for unemployment, and the payments will start on Monday. This includes the 1099 and self-employed people; their payments will start on Monday.

"We continue to ask people to file claims. it may be somewhat inconvenient, but the best hours to file are between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., and you should file online at," he said.

Dr. Corey Hébert, a physician who teaches at LSU and Tulane, and is medical director for Dillard, addressed the issue of disproportionate percentage of African Americans who have died of COVID.

There are many longstanding societal and systemic reasons for that disturbing figure, Hébert said. Poor people are going to be disproportionately affected by any health issue like this, but studies show that African Americans also face challenges related to race in addition to those related to poverty, he said.

Edwards' expansion of Medicaid has helped, he said.

"We would be in so much more of a dire circumstance if we hadn't expanded Medicaid," Hébert said. "There is a lot of quality education and quality thought going on behind the scenes."

KATC will live stream the press conference beginning at 2:30 pm on KATC, and the KATC Facebook page.

During Tuesday's press conference, the governor said that data is showing the curve may be starting to flatten for Louisiana, but promised residents if they don't keep up mitigation measures the numbers will go right back up.

To read more on that press briefing, click here.

The governor also signed an emergency order on Tuesday related to unemployment. The proclamation addresses various issues related to unemployment and workers' compensation and also deems healthcare workers and first responders who work for the state as essential for purposes of the federal Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Read more, here.

The Louisiana Department of Health updates their numbers each day at noon.

To see the latest from LDH, click here.