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Questions in Gov. Edwards COVID-19 briefing focus on reopening economy


BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday that it’s too early to tell yet what the timeline in Louisiana for reopening business might look like, but that things are not going to look the same as they did before his stay at home order was issued in mid-March.

Edwards gave his daily COVID-19 update a little earlier in the day than his briefings have typically been held because the video conference call with President Donald Trump and the White House task force was set for 2 p.m.

Rep. Scalise joined Edwards for Thursday’s briefing and said he is honored to have been invited to join the task force to work on a plan for re-opening the nation’s economy. Sen. John Kennedy says he has also been invited to join the task force.

Edwards gave his daily COVID-19 update a little earlier in the day than his briefings have typically been held because the task force video conference call was set for 2 p.m.

Edwards said in addition to discussion about how the nation’s economy can be re-started and when, updated CDC guidance is also expected.

On the state level, Edwards announced the creation of Resilient Louisiana, a state commission charged with examining Louisiana’s economy and making recommendations for more resilient business-related activities and commerce in the coming months.

RELATED: Shreveport business owner joins Gov. Edwards panel focusing on economic growth during COVID-19 crisis

“You’re gonna know a lot more soon about how we’re gonna reopen and I know that that’s the topic that a lot of people want to talk about today. Quite frankly, we just don’t have a lot of the answers yet, because we’re still working through this.”

We’ve got a video telephone conference today with the president, CDC guidance is going to be coming out, this task force that I talked about is going to be informing the decisions that we make, and at all times, we will make sure that we’re hearing from the medical community, as well.”

The governor did say things are not going to look like they did before he issued the stay at home order.

“Life as we know it has been altered for the time being. No part of our state, no part of our economy has been untouched by this public health emergency and we remain in the midst of a fight to defeat the invisible enemy. We’re not there yet, although we are doing better.”

During the briefing, Edwards said another 53 COVID-19 deaths would be reported by the Louisiana Department of Health when the state updated the data at 12 p.m., bringing the statewide death toll to 1,156. Another 581 cases will be reported, bringing the statewide total to 22,532.

April 16 LDH update: 22,532 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1,156 deaths reported across the state

Louisiana has seen encouraging signs in combating the virus, with slowing rates of new infections and new hospitalizations, and fewer patients on ventilators. Edwards credits people remaining physically distanced from others.

For most people, the highly contagious coronavirus causes symptoms such as high fever and a dry cough that resolve in several weeks. But some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, can suffer severe symptoms that can be fatal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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