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Edwards: No details on start of re-opening yet

Gov. Edwards
Posted at 11:13 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 16:03:00-04

Governor John Bel Edwards said we still don't know exactly what will happen next week when the stay-at-home order expires.

"I know you are waiting on details about what comes after April 30, but I don’t have that for you," the governor said. "Details about what we need to show to move to Phase I, what Phase I will look like and how it will roll out, we’re working on that but we don’t have that yet."

But, Edwards wants people to understand that it's not like we're going to go back to where we were. There will be crowd size restrictions, social distancing will still be in place, and there will be testing. Everything will be a gradual re-opening, as advised by the White House and the CDC, he said.

"If you make me bet, I'd bet that on May 1 we'll be under a different order than we're under now, we won't just extend it," Edwards said. "A lot depends on what happens over the next 10 days."

For any relaxation of restrictions to happen, there needs to be an overall downward trajectory in several categories of data, he said.

Edwards said there are three priorities for the state right now:

"Number 1, that's all the things we’ve been talking about for weeks now. They're still important. They’re still the number one priority," he said. "Don’t get out if you don’t have to, if you do, don’t take the whole family with you. Practice social distancing, use a mask, wash your hands, stay home if you're sick."

The second priority is to increase testing, both diagnostic and antibody tests, he said.

"And Number 3 would be to make sure we can engage in more contact tracing," Edwards said. "After people test positive, we have to make contact with everyone they had contact with during the 48 hours before they became symptomatic. That’s going to be key to us going forward so we can keep the case count down, and keep the number of people who die from this disease at the absolute minimum."

Edwards said all states are going through this process, and that testing and contact tracing is the bedrock of President Trump's plan to reopen the economy.

He thanked several businesses that are helping the state. BASF donated 800 gallons of hand sanitizer for hospitals and emergency medical centers; Facebook donated 25,000 masks and 200 thermometers; and Popeye’s is funding 1 million meals for NOLA families via Second Harvest.

Edwards was asked about the protests; he said he understands they've been very political, and he doesn't need any protest to tell him that the economy needs to reopen as soon as possible. He said public health has to be priority #1.

"We have to be very careful about balancing public health on the one hand, and opening up the economy. We're relying very heavily upon the President and the Vice President as to how they feel we should re-open," Edwards said. "What we're doing is what we've been advised to do by the President and the Vice President."

As of noon today, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 24,854 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. This is 331 more cases than were reported yesterday.

A total of 1,405 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. This is 77 more deaths than were reported yesterday.

LDH reported COVID-19 patients in hospitals are at 1,798, which includes 4 more hospitalizations than yesterday.

LDH reported there 297 of patients are on ventilators, which is 35 less patients than were reported yesterday.

During Monday's press conference, the governor said that starting next week, Louisiana will take a small step toward re-opening the medical sector.

Gov. Edwards said he will issue an order that will allow some non-emergency procedures starting April 27.

To view Monday's press conference, click here.

LDH updates state numbers each day at noon.

To see the latest statewide or by parish, click here.

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