Gov. Edwards: Continue to stay at home

1102
Gov. John Bel Edwards has been providing updates on coronavirus cases in Louisiana | Catherine Hunt/LSU Manship School News Service

A stay-at-home order “may well have to be extended,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday afternoon.

Edwards’ statement came as the number of known coronavirus cases and deaths in Louisiana continue to increase.

Edwards and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell held a joint press conference from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

“As you know, my stay at home order is scheduled to end on April 13th,” Edwards said. “I do want people to know that based on facts on the ground as we get close to that date we will determine whether to extend that date. Right now, I can tell you it may well have to be extended beyond April 13th.”

Edwards said he will evaluate the order as it gets closer to expiring on April 13. His statement comes on the heels of President Donald Trump extending national self quarantine guidelines to April 30.

On the coronavirus treatment front, Edwards said he has ordered 12,000 ventilators and received only 192 so far with none coming from the federal stockpile, he said.

“We now think we may be out of ventilator capacity by April 4 or 5 and beds by April 10,” Edwards said. “My expectation is the next time (the feds) make an allocation of ventilators they cut a slice for Louisiana.

“I believe there are still some ventilators in the national stockpile,” he said. “I’m renewing that request every few hours.”

Edwards said hospitals are adding more than 160 intensive care unit beds in New Orleans, more than 120 ICU beds in Shreveport and more than 100 ICU beds in Baton Rouge.

“It’s my hope and prayer that we won’t need them,” Edwards said. 

All Louisiana residents have been asked to stay home until April 13 except for essential trips, including grocery shopping.

As of Sunday, there are 3,540 known coronavirus cases in Louisiana and there have been 151 known coronavirus-related deaths.

Louisiana is the second in the country for per-capita deaths and third in the country for per-capita cases.

There was a comparatively smaller increase in case numbers on Sunday, but Edwards said that’s partially based on a smaller number of tests.

“You may be feeling a little bit better today because the new cases in the last 24 hours are smaller than the previous 24 hours,” Edwards said. “Understand there were fewer tests that were administered as well. So nobody should rest too easy, although I am personally anxious to see real evidence that we are flattening the curve.”

When asked about citizens who are ignoring the stay-at-home order, Edwards called it selfish.

“We need to be good neighbors right now,” Edwards said. “Being a good neighbor means you’re not going to have contact. To go out and to continue to live as if everything is normal really is a type of selfishness right now and we’re better than that.”

Edwards had scheduled another press conference for Monday.