The daily update on COVID-19 for Louisiana for today (April 15) offered another mix bag, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during his daily press briefing. While the numbers of cases and deaths continue to rise, the number of COVID-19 positive residents in hospitals and on ventilators has dropped.
The total number of cases for reported for April 15 is 21,951, a total of 433 more than the previous dates. The number of deaths has risen to 1,103, adding 90 more death to the toll.
“These are not just numbers. These are people, and we grieve for them and keep their families lifted in prayer,” he said.
The bright side of the mixed bag is dropped in hospitalized COVID-19 positive residents from 1,977 on April 14 to 1,943 on April 15. Eleven fewer patients are on ventilators, going from 436 to 425.
The Governor is not yet ready to call an end to mitigation methods that residents have been encouraged to take across the state, including when businesses can reopen.
“Overall, we believe we are in a better place. We have flattened the curve,” Edwards said. “We’re not going to be satisfied until we start reporting fewer deaths. Of course, the number we are all looking for is zero. But if there is going to be a spike in cases because we let our guard down, . . . it won’t take long to see case spike again.”
The city of New Orleans has already extended its stay-at-home order after Mayor LaToya Cantrell signed a proclamation earlier today (April 15).
Schools Closed for Remainder of School Year
Gov. Edwards also announced that he signed a proclamation earlier in the day to keep K-12 schools in Louisiana closed for the remainder of the school year.
“This is not the end of learning for the academic school year,” Edwards said. “I fully expect instruction and learning to continue. I fully expect nutrition programs to continue.” The governor added that efforts to help students and schools with high-tech and low-tech distance learning continues, while also acknowledging that rural communities and low-income homes face challenges access to technology, devices or reliable internet service.
Acting Superintendent of Schools Beth Scioneaux, who was on hand to take questions on the permanent closure of schools during the press conference, said the state department of education stands ready to “support school districts and charter schools around the state” with efforts “assess students learning levels” and “make sure we start up the next school year strong.”
Still, she was short on specific guidelines for districts, saying that individual districts will likely be able to decide how they make up for the lost classroom time and provide academic support to students, such as whether an earlier school year for 2020-2021 or mandatory summer school. Scioneaux said a conference call with district superintendents is slated for Thursday.
Both Scioneaux and Gov. Edwards said that special attention will be paid to ensuring that 2020 high school graduates get the support they need as they end the school year, preparing for college or the workforce.