BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — In a press conference today, Gov. John Bel Edwards urged Louisiana residents to take as many preventative measures as possible to keep the spread of the COVID-19 virus low so that the state’s healthcare system is not overwhelmed.
Edwards pointed out that while the infection rate is currently low in Louisiana, with just under 180 persons tested as of noon today, Louisiana has infection numbers similar to states several times its size. That means that, per capita, Louisiana ranks 3rd or 4th in the nation in the percentage of infected persons.
That, he said, is why he followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit the number of large gatherings in the state, banning any over 250 people. Since the disease takes several days to incubate, it is possible to spread the disease before showing any symptoms.
Specifically, he said that persons over the age of 60 are the most susceptible to the disease, with the symptoms becoming more pronounced the older people get. He urged any and all senior citizens to limit their interactions with individuals and with crowds of any size.
However, Edwards said people of all ages need to work to minimize the transmission of the disease since Louisiana’s small size also means its healthcare system and testing apparatus could be overwhelmed if preventative measures aren’t taken. To that effect, he said commercial testing will soon come online to help the testing done at the state lab in Baton Rouge.
“Every person in the state has a role to play,” he said. “The degree to which we are successful will depend on the number of people who comply.”
Preventative measures include washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, disinfecting surfaces regularly, practicing social distancing, and staying home if you are sick.
Edwards said President Trump’s emergency declaration on Friday will open up federal aid, and he said Louisiana will apply for any and all forms of aid that it can.
Anyone with questions about COVID-19 can call 211 for more information.