Coronavirus new

Louisiana reported at least 1,300 new cases of the novel coronavirus for the second time in four days, continuing the state’s recent surge in cases that has led to an accompanying rise in hospitalizations.

Across the state, there have now been a confirmed 54,769 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 1,354 from Thursday with 92 percent coming from community spread. 

In the last four days, the state has added 4,530 new cases to the total case count, the most in a four-day span since the virus’ peak in early April.

The statewide COVID-19 death toll reached 3,077 fatalities on Thursday, an increase of 26 from the previous day. The state is also reporting 113 “probable” deaths from the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 hospitalizations continued their recent rise, increasing by a staggering 47 overnight to reach 700. Hospitalizations haven’t been at 700 since May 29, nearly one month ago, and they’ve increased in eight of the last 11 days.

Since June 14, COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen by 158.

Ventilator usage dropped by four on Friday down to 73 statewide.

According to officials, Louisiana has now conducted 676,839 COVID-19 tests, either through the state lab (32,152) or commercial labs (644,687). That’s an increase of 16,174 tests overnight, which puts Friday’s positivity rate at 8 percent, better than the state’s goal of 10 percent but worse than the previous two days.

On Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards formally extended Phase Two of Louisiana’s reopening. The earliest the state could enter Phase Three would be Friday, July 24.

The new order, which went into effect June 26, leaves in place occupancy and other restrictions of the previous Phase Two order. It also limits indoor gatherings to 250 people.

Edwards announced the signing of the newest proclamation Thursday night, saying data from the last three days has made it “crystal clear” the state isn’t ready to advance to Phase Three, which would loosen more restrictions that were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Some in Louisiana may be done with COVID, but I promise you that COVID is not yet done with Louisiana,” Edwards said in a statement.

Due to a planned power outage on June 27, the Louisiana Department of Health will not update its dashboard on Saturday. Updates will resume on Sunday, June 28, the department said in a statement.

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