Gov. Edwards Says He is Encouraged by the Numbers

But he will wait and review all the data to announce whether Louisiana will move to a new phase of reopening

With less than a week to go before he is set to announce whether Louisiana is set to move into Phase 2 of its reopening, Gov. John Bel Edwards today (Wednesday, May 27) said he was  Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was encouraged by the numbers he has seen, but came short of indicating whether the state is poised to move into the second phase.

“There are so many things that we look at, I am not going to tell you whether we are meeting the criteria,” the Governor said at the Wednesday press briefing. “We are tracking reasonably well when you look at the overall numbers for the state. I am encouraged, but I am not making any announcement today. The current Phase One order is in place until June 5.”

Edwards says his team is in the process of gathering the data that will lead to that decision. He and others will examine it over the coming weekend. He is set to announce on Monday, June 1, whether the state has met the metrics needed to move into Phase Two of reopening. Those measures include steady declines in cases and hospitalizations along with increased testing and contact tracing capabilities.

As for the encouraging numbers, Edwards points out the dip in hospitalizations to 798, saying it was the first time in two months that hospitalizations statewide have been below 800. Of the 798 hospitalized patients, 100 are reported to be on ventilators. He also added that Louisiana has dropped one spot to number 9 in the nation as it relates to COVID cases per capita.

“You may recall a couple of months ago, we were number 2,” he said.

For Wednesday, May 27, Louisiana reported 443 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total positive cases to 38,497 out of 347,647 tests, a positive rate of just above 11 percent. The state also reported 21 new COVID-19 related deaths, bring the statewide total to 2,617 on May 27.

The Governor said Centers for Disease Control guidelines suggest that a 10 percent infection rate of the total number of tests administered is a positive sign that the spread of the disease is slowing.

The 443 new cases were from a total of 6,621 tests administered, making the percent of positives for that batch of tests just under 7 percent.

“It’s coming down,” Edwards said. “We’re doing well on that metric as well.”

With 179,369 tests administered so far in May alone, Edwards says the state in on path to reach its goal of 200,000 tests per month. In order to get there, roughly 5,100 tests will have to be administered each day for the rest of May.

“We believe we will make it,” Gov. Edwards said. “We’re out with all of our partners doing mobile testing across the state.”

Despite promising numbers, Gov. Edwards says now is not the time to lessen mitigation efforts such as social distancing and mask wearing, reminding that based on CDC estimates 25 percent to 35 percent of the population could be COVID-19 positive without showing any symptoms or only mild symptoms, but still contagious and unlikely to be tested.

“There is still a lot of COVID-19 out there,” he said. “It is as contagious today as it was two months ago. It is as deadly today as it was two months ago.”

The Governor also provided an update on Pediatric Multi-Symptom Inflammatory Syndrome, a illness related to COVID-19 that is afflicting children 19 and under across the nation. Cases were first recognized in New York.

Edwards said he wants parents and healthcare providers to be aware that the disease impacting children is in Louisiana.

Louisiana currently has 13 confirmed cases, including one death, of the disease affecting children ages 0 to 19. Four children in Louisiana remain hospitalized and eight others have been released.

“We don’t know yet exactly what causes it, but we know there is a relationship with (coronavirus).”

The condition is marked by evidence of inflammation of organs and severe illness in children who have either been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 with no other possible diagnosis for their condition.

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