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Coronavirus in Louisiana: Gov. Edwards holds COVID-19 update briefing

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KARD & KTAL) — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press briefing on Friday afternoon to give an update on Louisiana’s response to the coronavirus.

On Friday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 26 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,661, but due to technical issues, the case and testing data were not updated.

During the briefing, Gov. Edwards said technical issues were the cause of a delay in Friday’s update on the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed and tests performed since Thursday but said he expects the state to meet its goal of testing 200,000 people for the coronavirus for the month of May. 

The governor said the state is finalizing a plan for testing and contact tracing in the state that Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips will be taking to Washington, D.C. next week to present to the Department Health and Human Services. 

The plan is required by the federal government in order to qualify and receive funding up to $190 million to implement the plan through the end of the year. Edwards said the HHS sent a template of the testing plan they are asking states to come up with, but that the state has already been working for a long time on a comprehensive plan that was “very much in line” with what the HHS wants.

That plan includes requirements for monthly testing of 2-percent per capita, which the state is already on track to exceed for the month of May as it closes in on 200,000 tests and 4.3% of the state’s population.

The plan also has requirements for 2-percent per capital testing in each parish, and an overall positivity rate of 10 percent or less. 

Gov. Edwards also stated that he expects to make an announcement on Monday as to what happens next Friday in regards to the current emergency order expiring.

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