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Gov. Edwards discusses PPE production center at LSU, updates state on COVID-19

Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 17:22:32-04

BATON ROUGE, La. - On Friday, April 17, Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing on COVID-19 in the state.

Before the briefing, the governor toured LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center to see the large-scale production of personal protective gowns. When working at full capacity, 40 workers can produce up to 1000 gowns per day at LSU. Experts are also making sanitizer, COVID-tests, and working on vaccines. All eight campuses are helping with COVID-19 fight, stated LSU Interim President, Tom Galligan. Read more on what LSU is doign to fight the disease.

"We have flattened the curve, but have more work to do," said Edwards during the press conference. Louisiana leads the country in testing for COVID-19.

On April 17 the Louisiana Department of Health reported 23,118 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. That's 586 additional cases since Thursday. A total of 1,213 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. That's an increase of 57 deaths from Thursday. LDH reported 1,868 patients were hospitalized due to the virus and 363 of those hospitalized required ventilators. That is 46 less hospitalizations than yesterday with six less on ventilators from Thursday.

Edwards stated that the Louisiana Dept. of Health is working on a plan to open up hospitals for non-emergency procedures ahead of May 1.

"Mayor President of Lafayette is abiding by the Governor's Stay at Home Order with new directives for businesses in "gray area." said the Governor. He stated that the Shop Safe Policy announced by the Lafayette Consolidated Government on Thursday is in line with the Stay At Home Order that is in effect until April 30. Lafayette officials' guidance allowing furniture and clothing stores and other "durable goods" retailers to reopen is in compliance with state emergency orders aimed at fighting COVID-19. Lafayette officials say their new guidance affects an estimated 60% of previously closed businesses that fall into a "gray area" between those explicitly labeled "essential" and "non-essential" under a state emergency order. But a governor's spokeswoman says the affected businesses are clearly allowed to open under the emergency order as long as they follow social distancing requirements.

In Thursday morning's press conference, Gov Edwards noted that Louisiana was "in a better place" due in part to mitigation efforts. To read more from that press conference, click here.

The Louisiana Department of Health updates the state's numbers each day at noon.

For the latest from LDH, click here.

Watch the full press conference below:

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