Breaking: COVID-19 Press Conference Held with Governor Edwards and Mayor Cantrell

A press conference was held with governor John Bel Edwards and New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell today covering updates on COVID-19 in the city and around Louisiana. According to the governor, the number of cases has risen to 3,540 in the state. As the number of tests has gone up due to drive-through testing facilities, 225 new cases have been counted and 8.3% of cases have tested positive in New Orleans. There have been 151 deaths from the virus in the state, with 14 new deaths in the last day. Louisiana is currently third in the country for number of cases, and second in the country for per-capita deaths. There is no evidence that the curve has slowed, therefore officials express a significant need to continue practicing methods to flatten the numbers.

The governor spoke to the Ernest Mortal Convention Center converting into an emergency field hospital for New Orleans. All individuals in the new hospital will be transferred from other local facilities. Beds are reserved for patients who are not fragile but still require hospitalization until they are fully recovered. No visitations are to take place. 1,000 beds will be placed in the convention center, and 250 will be placed at a facility across the street. When asked if the convention center neighborhood was a dangerous place for healthy residents, mayor Cantrell responded, “This is not a time for ‘not in my backyard’. This is a time for us to meet the needs of our residents in getting them well.” Both the governor and mayor believe this is a great step to help protect the entire city.

The president recently approved a 67 person team through FEMA to come assist in the pandemic within New Orleans. That team was diverted and a larger team will now be arriving from Jacksonville, Florida to contribute on the frontlines. The governor plans to increase testing across the state. There are currently 192 ventilators available, and the governor hopes that the federal government will soon provide more. Many officials argue that the Trump administration is not playing a large enough role in state assistance. Louisiana has not received a response to the request for 5,000 more ventilators. Edwards states, “Ventilators are the largest issue we have in the short term.” More personal protective equipment has been shipped to Baton Rouge for distribution across the state.

Both the governor and the mayor emphasized that individuals most at risk include the elderly and those with underlying health conditions such as lung and kidney disease, diabetes and obesity. 41% of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in New Orleans suffer from diabetes, with a large percentage suffering from kidney disease as well.

Governor Cantrell emphasized that the entirety of the public needs to adhere to the stay-at-home mandate. She stated that public officials including law enforcement are not afraid to take action if individuals consistently disobey the orders. She says that no one is above the law. “The virus doesn’t care who pays taxes or has a home… You matter, and you’re showing us what we can do.” She thanks individuals who have dropped off protective equipment to frontline workers across the city.

The governor urges anyone who is unsure of symptoms to call 211. If it is an emergency, please call 911.


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