Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Edwards: COVID-19 trend ‘concerning’

Friday, June 26, 2020
Article Image Alt Text

Leader photo by NANCY BERGERON

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (right) shows COVID-19 case statistics to (from left) Grambling State University President Rick Gallot, State Sen. Jay Luneau, and Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker on Thursday morning.

Louisianans could find themselves under more restrictions if increasing cases of the novel coronavirus threaten the ability of the state’s hospitals to provide adequate care, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday.

Edwards’ remarks came during a brief press conference here following his participation in the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the new Interstate 20-Tarbutton Road project.

“We’re on the road to putting more people in the hospital, having more people die,” Edwards said.

On Monday, Edwards announced Louisiana would remain in Phase Two of economic reopening for at least another 28 days because of the growing number of cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and related hospitalizations.

As of noon Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 938 newly confirmed cases since Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 54,415.

The day before, the tally jumped by 822 cases.

In Lincoln Parish, the number of cases stands at 294. Though the number of local cases continues to climb, the rise is not as rapid this week as it was last week, according to LDH figures.

Hospitalizations statewide were at 653 on Thursday, up from 631 the day before.

While Louisiana has increased testing for COVID-19, the governor says the number of new cases is outpacing what could be accounted for in testing alone.

“The trend we see in the last couple of days is very concerning,” Edwards said.

The largest increase is in residents age 18 to 29, making it especially important for people in that age group and college communities like Ruston and Grambling to take the illness seriously, wear masks and social distance, Edwards said.

“It’s college towns where we’re going to have the biggest impact,” he said.

Edwards said while he’s willing to consider any recommendation by public health authorities to fight COVID-19, he’s not mandating wearing masks.

He said mask mandates are problematic because they are hard to enforce. However, the current Phase Two reopening order requires restaurant workers and businesspeople who interact with the public to wear masks or face coverings.

Both Edwards and his wife, Donna, on Wednesday released a series of public service announcements urging Louisianans to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.