The Latest on the Coronavirus Outbreak

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy joins Gov. Edwards for Friday COVID-19 briefing


BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KLFY) – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy joined Gov. John Bel Edwards during Friday’s press briefing to talk about federal aid, the state’s health care system and economy. 

When asked whether he believed the entire state should open up immediately, which has been goaded by U.S. Congressman Clay Higgins, Cassidy said he is a “doctor before a senator.” 

“This has to be driven by data,” he said. 

Cassidy sits on the President Trump’s task force for reopening the economy.

Edwards is expected to announce as early as Monday how Louisiana might begin to re-open the economy if certain benchmarks in White House guidance are met. Those involve the growth in cases, hospitalizations and the number of people reported with certain symptoms within a 14-day period.

Louisiana is seeing signs of slower spread of COVID-19, but the governor’s stay-at-home order may be extended in an effort to avoid a spike in new cases.

As of Friday, new COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations statewide had declined for a third day. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 61 more deaths Friday from COVID-19, bringing the total statewide to 1,601. With the addition of 401 new cases, there are now 26,140.

The Louisiana Department of Health also started reporting “Presumed Recovered” data Friday, showing 14,927 as of April 22. The LDH started reporting probable deaths on Wednesday, which are defined by the CDC as “deaths identified by coroners and/or physicians as COVID-19 deaths or as probable/suspected/possible COVID-19 deaths without a positive lab result.” That number has remained at 59 since it was last updated on Wednesday.

RELATED: Pandemic debate: Statewide reopening or parish-by-parish?

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