BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KLFY) – With 2,305 cases confirmed throughout 53 parishes and 83 deaths reported as of Thursday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards had a stark warning in his afternoon briefing.
“The numbers that we have today are once again very staggering. I hope the entire state of Louisiana is looking at these numbers and that they are as concerned as I am,” Edwards said.
“This is not some flimsy theory. This is not some scare tactic.”
He said medical personnel are working around the clock, but that every resident in the state must do their part to stop the spread of the virus.
“You literally have it within you the power to save lives by minimizing contact,” the governor said. “As that life could be your own.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped nearly 30 percent overnight in Louisiana Thursday with 18 new deaths including a 17-year-old patient in Orleans Parish.
One of the additional 18 deaths reported Thursday was in Caddo Parish. Thursday night, the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office confirmed the death of 78-year-old Stephen Bradley.
According to a statement released by the coroner’s office, Bradley died Tuesday night at WK Bossier Health Center after several days’ hospitalization.
That death was likely the one reflected in the Louisiana Department of Health’s daily update at Thursday at 12 p.m., but the coroner’s office also confirmed the death of 64-year-old Ronnie Hampton from the coronavirus. Hampton died Wednesday at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.
In addition to the first deaths reported in Northwest Louisiana’s most populated parish, the latest numbers show 22 additional cases confirmed in Caddo since Wednesday, bringing the total to 115. In Bossier Parish, there are an additional 25 cases, bringing the total to 32.
In a statement following the release of the updated numbers, the Louisiana Department of Health noted the increases in Caddo and Bossier parishes in particular, saying the governor and the LDH are monitoring closely.
The state reports 53 of the state’s 64 parishes now have confirmed cases. Here is a look at the cases by parish in Northwest Louisiana:
- Caddo – 115 case(s) | 1 death(s)
- Bossier – 32 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- De Soto – 11 case(s) | 1 death(s)
- Webster – 8 case(s) | 1 death(s)
- Claiborne – 2 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- Natchitoches – 2 case(s) | 0 death(s)
- Bienville – 1 case(s) | 1 death(s)
More than 18,000 tests have been completed. According to LDH, 676 patients are in hospitals for treatment for COVID-19. 239 of those are on ventilators.
In other highlights from Thursday’s briefing, Gov. John Bel Edwards said 955 members of the National Guard are assisting with newly opened screening sites throughout the state. They are also on hand to assist with makeshift medical facilities, which are expected to be utilized in the coming weeks.
Students in the healthcare field, as well as medical worker retirees, are urged to volunteer as the state braces for a surge of patients to flood the state’s health care system.
Edwards said the federal government is answering the state’s request for resources including two 250-bed field hospitals and a health care strike team of 60 doctors and nurses.
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is being considered as makeshift medical facility as cases in the New Orleans area continue to skyrocket.
The Louisiana Department of Health has updated its website to reflect the latest number of positives and will continue to update its website at 12 p.m. each day.
This week, Louisiana joined four other states requesting federal disaster assistance to relieve its health care system, which is already feeling a tightened grip due to lack of resources to treat coronavirus patients and protect workers. President Trump approved that request Tuesday.
While older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk, everyone can become exposed to COVID-19 and must be vigilant to protect their health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the serious chronic health conditions include heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
For updates on positive cases and deaths, visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 webpage.
Everyone is warned to take the necessary precautions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe and healthy. These precautions include:
- Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and frequently
- Covering your cough or sneeze with your arm
- Avoiding touching your face
- Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
- Avoiding close contact with others
- And staying home if you are sick
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