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Edwards: DHH working on reopening state’s non-emergency capacities in hospitals and clinics before May 1

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KLFY) – Gov. John Bel Edwards said the Department of Health and Hospitals is working on new plans to increase non-emergency surgical capacity in the state’s clinics and hospitals.

During his briefing Friday following a tour of a production site for PPE set up at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge Friday, Edwards also officially welcomed the state’s new health secretary, Courtney Phillips, who was named to the position in February before Louisiana had its first confirmed infection of the virus. 

Edwards said DHH officials were not available for Friday’s briefing because they were working on plans that will reopen non-emergency capabilities to the state. He noted that situations that aren’t emergencies now can and will develop into emergencies as time goes on, making these plans crucial. In addition to being important to the state’s healthcare system, he said reopening hospitals and clinics is also key for the state’s economic outlook.

While he did not give any specifics on plans, he said the reopening will happen “sooner rather than later,” and will likely happen before May 1.

As many as 1,000 heavy-duty reusable gowns will be produced a PMAC daily, using vinyl donated by Lamar Advertising. Face shields and hand sanitizer will also be made there. While the national supply of gloves and masks is increasing, the supply of gowns remains low.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 57 new deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,213. The number of confirmed cases statewide has risen by 586 to a total of 23,118 statewide.

Those new numbers represent only five more new cases and four more deaths than were reported on Thursday, in another sign the state is beginning to flatten the curve.

RELATED: LDH: Regional projections show Louisiana could be grappling with COVID-19 until the end of the year

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