Louisiana is one of the states that will receive surgical masks from Apple Inc., Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Edwards made the announcement to reporters Wednesday afternoon, hours after the Department of Health reported that the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, had reached 1,795 positive cases and 65 deaths in Louisiana. The virus is now in 48 of the state’s 64 parishes.
Louisiana, which has the third-highest rate of cases per capita in the country, will receive more than 100,000 masks from Apple, Edwards said.
In a video posted on his Twitter page, Apple CEO Tim Cook encouraged people to “follow experts” by staying at home and maintaining 6 feet of distance from one another. He then announced that Apple had sourced and procured 10 million masks that would be donated to the medical community.
Proud to share we’ve been able to source 10M masks for the US and millions more for the hardest hit regions in Europe. Our ops teams are helping to find and purchase masks from our supply chain in coordination with governments around the world. pic.twitter.com/uTsA6eA5ks— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 25, 2020
“These people deserve our debt of gratitude for all the work they’re doing on the front lines,” Cook said.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Edwards said the state was thankful for the donations from Apple but added that much more will be needed to get through the crisis that is growing at a “very sobering” rate in Louisiana.
Along with masks, Edwards stressed the importance of acquiring ventilators, which he called the biggest “short-term” issue. The New Orleans area, which has the most drastic number of cases in the state, could be out of ventilators by the first week of April, Edwards said.
The message came one day after Louisiana landed a “Major Disaster Declaration” from the White House that Edwards said should “bring Louisiana into the national conversation” and help the state acquire much-needed resources.
Edwards said 100 ventilators were going to be distributed Wednesday to Region 1, the New Orleans area, followed by another 100 Thursday and 100 more next week.
“In Region 1, that’s still 600 short,” Edwards said, adding that doesn’t include the Baton Rouge area, which has seen a surge in positive cases in recent days.
“We are grateful for what we’ve received but it’s not enough,” he said.
Edwards continued to implore people to follow his statewide “stay at home” order, which runs through Sunday, April 12.
“Our efforts are going to be in vain if we don’t get people to do their part by following the stay at home order,” he said.