During his daily press conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the latest update of cases in the state included 129 COVID-19 related deaths-the largest number of deaths reported in a 24 hour period and a number that brought the state’s total death toll to over 1000.

The Governor called the numbers “grim” and  “troublesome”, while also pointing to some “positive signs” in the current data, including a drop in the number of hospitalizations and in the use of ventilators.

He cautioned that now is not the time to relax the measures being taken to slow the spread of the virus.

“What we don’t want to do is go right back to the place we have been trying avoid,” he said.

In her press conference, New Orleans Mayor echoed those concerns, saying the city has still not reached a point where stay-at-home measures can be loosened.

“The positive impact that we have seen, meaning fewer cases is the result of what we have done. We will not get there if we do not stay the course,” Cantrell said, adding that city leaders is also paying close attention to what is happening in neightborhing parishes.

“Even as our curve begins to flatten, our neighbors are beginning to peak, and that will affect what we do in New Orleans.”

The Governor also talked about what things will look like once the state begins reopen, suggesting that many of the current precautions will likely remain in place whenever businesses and institutions began to reopen.

“Social distancing is going to be part of our future for some time. Wearing a mask when you are out and in close proximity to people; taking your temperature when you enter certain places are going to be things we are going to do for some time,” he said.

Amid, the COVID-19 crisis, the state Department of Corrections announced a plan during Edwards’ daily briefing to release about 1100 state inmates to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading in state prisons and jails. 

A group of about 100 inmates with pre-existing medical conditions in state prisons, are within at least six months of their release dates and have a housing or residential plans are being considered. Another 1000 state inmates housed in local jails who have served at least six months of their sentences and are within six months of their release dates may also be eligible. The inmates being considered for this furlough are also non-violent and non-sex crime offenders, DOC Secretary James Le Blanc said, adding that a Furlough Review Panel review the cases to decide who is released.

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