When describing the newest numbers from the rampant spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards used one word to describe his reaction.
"They were startling," the governor said.
He went on to say that he hopes residents will continue to take mitigation efforts, as well as social distancing, seriously from day-to-day. The governor added that his 'stay at home' order will be signed this evening, officially extending the date to Apr. 30.
In order to deliver information to the public, the state will be utilizing the 'Emergency Alert' system to produce a 4 p.m. report on COVID-19 in Louisiana, every day. It will also serve as a reminder for residents about the 'Stay At Home' order.
The governor added that individuals can text LACOVID to 67283 to get regular text updates directly to their phone regarding the disaster.
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, experienced its largest single-day jump in reported cases by far on Thursday, reaching approximately 9,150 positive cases in Louisiana, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
That’s 2,726 more reported cases — or a 42-percent jump — from Wednesday’s figures, according to the Department of Health.
The alarming new figures come hours after Gov. John Bel Edwards predicted a “jarring” increase in reported cases during a radio interview on WWL. He warned that the huge spike was due to a backlog in private lab results that may not necessarily accurately reflect the growth of the virus.
This week, officials have continually referenced a “logjam” in private tests that were taken a week or longer ago in some cases that are just now being confirmed.
“While extremely upsetting, this increase in COVID-19 cases appears to be less a sign of new exponential growth and more a sign of a logjam from commercial labs,” Edwards said.
“I am pleased to see a ramp up in testing across the state. We need this energy and commitment to continue. It’s important to understand that what’s happening in Louisiana with the increased testing is also happening around the country. That said, as more and more commercial labs come online our different data systems must learn to talk to one another.”
The Department of Health is now reporting 51,086 tests, either through the state lab or commercial labs. That’s an increase of 5,310 reported tests in the last 24 hours and more than 12,000 in the last two days.
There are currently 1,639 COVID-19 patients being treated in Louisiana hospitals, or nearly 18 percent of all reported cases. Of that total, there are 507 who are on ventilators, or nearly 31 percent of all those hospitalized from the novel coronavirus, according to the Department of Health.
The novel coronavirus is now being reported in all but three of the state’s 64 parishes, after Caldwell Parish reported its first positive case Thursday. Only Cameron, Tensas, and West Carroll parishes have yet to confirm a case, though Edwards has repeatedly stated the virus is in “every parish.”
In Livingston Parish, the number of cases increased by eight, the highest single-day jump that brings the local total to 33. Though the Department of Health has not confirmed a COVID-19 related death in Livingston Parish, the first one was reported late Wednesday afternoon after a Town of Livingston resident succumbed to the disease.
The COVID-19 death toll in the state now stands at 310, with 35 parishes reporting at least one death.