Edwards says new COVID-19 numbers are ‘startling’

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Gov. John Bel Edwards has been providing updates on coronavirus cases in Louisiana | Catherine Hunt/LSU Manship School News Service

Gov. John Bel Edwards held his daily briefing on Thursday to give updates on the state’s response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Edwards announced that he would be officially signing a new executive order later in the day that would extend his Stay-At-Home Order through April 30.

Edwards confirmed that that state had the most coronavirus cases in a single day on Thursday, with 2,726 cases bringing the total 9,150 positive cases, and 310 deaths.

On Wednesday, April 1, there were 6,424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana, with 273 deaths.

Edwards stated earlier on Thursday that there would be a huge spike coming from a backlog in private lab results that don’t necessarily accurately reflect the growth of the virus.

Edwards still called the numbers “startling.”

“Even though I was prepared for the number, they are still jarring for me,” Edwards said.

The governor also provided some context for those spikes in numbers saying that 95% of positive results are from commercial lab tests.

He said that the current increase is less a sign of exponential growth and more of a sign of a logjam from commercial labs who may have tested for these patients.

Edwards also announced that Louisianans would receive an emergency alert text on their smartphones on Thursday about the emergency order.

With the Stay-At-Home Order being extended through April 30, thousands of businesses, including bars, casinos, gyms and others will remain closed for the month of April. K-12 schools will also remain closed, restaurants will be limited to delivery, take-out and drive-thru, and gatherings of 10 or more are banned. 

Edwards said that citizens could text LACOVID to 67283 to opt into texts to their phones about updates and information on COVID-19.

A new website has been established at CoronaVirus.LA.Gov about the state’s response to the virus.