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Gov. Edwards holds briefing after Louisiana reports largest single-day death count in state to-date

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards says the confirmation of 129 new deaths over a 24-hour period in Louisiana Tuesday marks “another very grim milestone” in the state’s response to the pandemic.

The Louisiana Department of Health Tuesday reported the 129 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it the largest number of deaths due to the coronavirus in a single day since the first case was reported on March 9. The state’s first death was reported on March 14.

“Today’s death count is the largest we have reported in a single day since this COVID-19 outbreak started and it brings the number of Louisianans we have lost to more than 1,000,” Gov. Edwards said in a tweet shortly after the latest numbers were released. “That’s 1,013 people who are someone’s mother, father, sister, or brother or child or aunt or uncle. They are our neighbors, friends & coworkers. They are more than just a number, and as our fellow Louisianans, we all grieve alongside their families.”

Officials stressed not all of those deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, because there is often a lag time in reporting.

“Our analysis shows that most deaths come 11.2 days after the onset of symptoms,” Edwards said in a statement, “which is why we must look at long-term data and trends. It is also why it is incumbent upon our people to follow the Stay at Home order, because just as the positive things we do now will save lives in the future, the negative things we do could threaten lives as well.”

MORE: Edwards worries about backsliding as virus deaths top 1,000

More than 21,500 people in Louisiana have confirmed infections of the COVID-19 disease, about 9% of whom are hospitalized, according to health department data.

While Edwards said the 129 deaths reported Tuesday is “very troublesome,” he noted lower hospitalizations and people on ventilators Tuesday are positive signs.

The number of patients hospitalized with the coronavirus dropped by 157 from 2,134 to 1,977 Tuesday. There were 461 patients on ventilators Monday, 25 fewer than were reported on Monday.

In other highlights from Tuesday’s briefing:

  • Gov. Edwards noted that the top three parishes with the most deaths reported Tuesday are Orleans (32), Jefferson (24), and Caddo (17).
  • Gov. Edwards pointed to Louisiana Department of Health figures that show the state is number one per capita for COVID-19 testing and noted that the more than 10,000 tests completed in the 24 hours since Monday is also the highest single daily number reported to date.
  • Plans were announced to temporarily furlough non-violent, non-sex offenders in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s prison system. Department of Public Safety Secretary James LeBlanc said about 1,200 inmates qualify for the furlough program if a review panel approves them. The first review is set for Friday. Edwards also noted that the move is the same ordered by U.S. Attorney General William Barr in the federal prison system. The decision comes after a federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday challenging the state’s treatment of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Gov. Edwards confirmed that the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office turned over a report to the Louisiana Department of Health Monday on their investigation into whether some medical providers, including the Hope Medical Group for Women abortion clinic in Shreveport, are violating emergency orders to suspend non-emergency procedures. Edwards said he has reviewed the report, but declined to comment on the findings, citing pending litigation in the form of a federal lawsuit filed Monday by a legal advocacy group on behalf of the Shreveport clinic seeking a restraining order against the state to halt actions taken to shut the clinic down.
  • Gov. Edwards said he expects acting Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Beth Scioneaux to attend Wednesday’s briefing, where decisions regarding the fate of the remainder of the school year are expected to be announced. Edwards has previously said he wanted to meet with state education leaders to be sure he understood what they are asking with their request to close schools for the rest of the academic year, although he also said, “there’s a really good chance I’m going to quickly do what they’re asking me to do.” 
  • Gov. Edwards has issued an order moving the state’s presidential primary and municipal primary elections from June to July, and July’s municipal general election to August.

Every parish in the state is reporting at least one case of the coronavirus.

In Northwest Louisiana, 17 more deaths were officially reported by the LDH Tuesday, along with 64 new cases. The total number of cases in Caddo Parish is now 1,097. Bossier Parish now has more than 200 confirmed cases and 10 deaths reported. Claiborne Parish is reporting a fourth death, and Bienville Parish is now reporting six deaths, four more since Monday. The number of cases in Sabine Parish has risen by one to ten, and Red River has one additional case reported, bringing the total there to 13. No deaths have been reported in Natchitoches or Sabine parishes.

Total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Northwest Louisiana as of Tuesday stands at 87, with 1,642 cases across nine parishes.

  • Caddo  –  1,097 case(s)  |  56 death(s)  |  148 state tests  |  18,596 commercial tests
  • Bossier  –  207 case(s)  |  10 death(s)  |  36 state tests  |  2,347 commercial tests
  • De Soto  –  130 case(s)  |  7 death(s)  |  8 state tests  |  155 commercial tests
  • Webster  –  65 case(s)  |  2 death(s)  |  8 state tests  |  960 commercial tests
  • Claiborne  –  41 case(s)  |  4 death(s)  |  20 state tests  |  79 commercial tests
  • Bienville  –  37 case(s)  |  6 death(s)  |  3 state tests  |  81 commercial tests
  • Natchitoches  –  42 case(s)  |  0 death(s)  |  20 state tests  |  564 commercial tests
  • Sabine  –  10 case(s)  |  0 death(s)  |  7 state tests  |  92 commercial tests
  • Red River  –  13 case(s)  |  2 death(s)  |  29 state tests  |  46 commercial tests

For information and updates on COVID-19, Louisianans can visit coronavirus.la.gov  and text LACOVID to 67283.

Stay up to date with the latest news and weather by downloading the Arklatexhomepage News App from the App Store or Google Play.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

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