BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday that the state is looking into why the number of deaths reported Tuesday is higher than expected, considering the number of cases that have been reported over the same time period.
“The number of deaths is higher than we would expect it to be, given the number of cases that we have and the rate of transmission that we think is going on, and we’re continuing to look at that and trying to figure out why that is.”
The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 61 new COVID-19 deaths statewide as of Tuesday and 219 new cases. While that is the lowest number reported since before new cases peaked in the state at 225 on March 29 and represents growth of just .81 percent over the previous day, it is more than double the 27 reported on Monday. Twenty-six deaths were reported statewide on Sunday.
Edwards also said the state expects to begin receiving allocations of test kits from the federal government starting next week that will help Louisiana reach the goal of 200,000 COVID-19 tests per month, which he said is critically important to monitor for emerging hot spots and to know where the virus is spreading.
“That’s a significant ramp-up from where we are right now. We just told you we’ve done a little over 150,000 tests, and that dates all the way back to early March.
So far, around 150,000 tests have been completed by both state and commercial labs since the coronavirus began to spread in Louisiana.
Testing and contact tracing have been identified as key measures needed in order to be able to safely reopen the economy amid an ongoing pandemic with a virus that currently has no known cure and no vaccine.
“I am going to pray for a vaccine to come as soon as possible,” Edwards said. “The White House has not guaranteed it for at least another year.”
On Monday, Edwards announced he will be extending the statewide stay-at-home order through May 14 to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But the governor added that forcing openings too soon could be more devastating to the economy. The state could see a spike in cases, which would prompt a second shutdown.
“It would be like hitting the accelerator and then hitting the brakes,” Edwards said.
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