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Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: 9,150 cases, 310 deaths statewide

Help is on the way to the state in the form of additional medical equipment, as more communities continue to suffer losses from the new disease.

NEW ORLEANS — Read Updates for Friday, April 3 

Latest Numbers:

  • 310 deaths (+37)
  • 9,150 total cases (+2,750)
  • 1,639 patients hospitalized (+141)
  • 507 in need of ventilators (+17) 
  • 61 of 64 parishes reporting cases (+1) 
  • 51,086 tests completed (+6,310) 

Key Updates:

  • There are now more than 300 dead, 1,600 hospitalized patients and 9,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 24 days since the first case was announced in Louisiana.
  • As the new coronavirus spreads, doctors are growing more concerned over the testing backlog across the state, which is causing patients to go without results for days and experts to be unable to accurately project what happens next.
  • More ventilators and hospital beds are coming to New Orleans, but not before more communities lose loved ones, including the first nurse to die fighting the coronavirus and Jazz legend Ellis Marsalis.    

Read yesterday's live blog here

Louisiana will send emergency alert to all mobile phones this afternoon

Your cell phone will sound an emergency alert this afternoon. 

Louisiana will issue an emergency alert to all cell phones in the state Thursday to remind residents of the statewide stay-at-home order. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that the alert will be sent to the phones at 4 p.m. and will be similar to severe weather alerts.

READ MORE: Louisiana will send coronavirus alert to all mobile phones at 4PM

Louisiana sees 42% increase in statewide cases 

Following the addition of roughly 12,000 tests to the state's records in the past two days, the Louisiana Department of Health reported an increase of nearly 3,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday. 

“While extremely upsetting, this increase in COVID-19 cases appears to be less a sign of new exponential growth and more a sign of a logjam from commercial labs,” Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement.

More than 90% of all tests on the Louisiana Department of Health records are from commercial labs, and not all negative test results from commercial labs have been reported to the state.

The lion's share of new cases came from New Orleans and Jefferson Parish: 1,623, or 60%. 

The two parishes registered 14 news deaths together. 

St. Tammany, St. John and St. Charles parishes all saw significant increases in cases, and St. Tammany reported three new deaths. In St. Bernard Parish, the amount of cases doubled. 

Cases by parish (SE Louisiana):

  • Orleans: 3,148 cases, 125 deaths
  • Jefferson: 2,178 cases, 73 deaths
  • St. John: 274 cases, 14 deaths
  • East Baton Rouge: 325 cases, 11 deaths
  • St. Tammany: 399 cases, 9 death
  • St. Charles: 180 cases, 8 deaths
  • Lafourche: 158 cases, 4 deaths
  • St. James: 110 cases, 4 death
  • St. Bernard 181 cases, 5 deaths
  • Plaquemines: 68 cases, 3 deaths
  • Washington: 50 cases, 2 death
  • Terrebonne: 97 cases, 1 deaths
  • Tangipahoa: 42 cases, 1 deaths

“If there is a place to draw hope here it is that these new data reveal our COVID-19 related hospitalization and death rates, while still concerningly high, are trending more in line with the national average,” said Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary of the Office of Public Health.   

Another 141 patients have been registered as being in a Louisiana hospital for COVID-19 treatment, bringing the total to 1,639. Of that number, 507 are in need of a ventilator -- up 17 from yesterday's report. 

According to LDH data, 390 of the 575 ventilators in the metro hospital system are in use. 2,270 of the system's 3,000 hospital beds are occupied, and only 150 of the 720 ICU beds remain.    

Governor says to expect biggest daily spike in cases Thursday

Governor John Bel Edwards warned of the largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases to date for Thursday. 

The latest figures from the Louisiana Department of Health, which were released at noon, show "a huge spike," Edwards said during a radio interview with WWL's Newell Normand Thursday morning.

"The numbers today are going to be jarring," Edwards said. 

He says it'll be from a boost in the amount of tests being processed across the state. Testing lag has been a problem for Louisiana's coronavirus pandemic response, with patients and medical staffs having to wait days on end to find out if they have COVID-19. 

Edwards said the vast majority of the newly reported cases will have been conducted over several days ago. Most of these patients have already been told they have COVID-19 and are quarantining at home, not in the hospital for treatment, he said.  

"We’re ramping up here in Louisiana to do everything we can to expand testing but as more and more labs come online, getting them to timely report that information…has been hard. But we’re ironing out those processes and things are getting better every day," Edwards said. 

Louisiana experienced two sustained days of gaining 1,200 new cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, the largest daily case increases by far to this point. 

Read more 

Mourning one of their own, Louisiana nursing advocates demand more protection

Wednesday, Louisiana lost its first healthcare worker to the virus, with the death of Larrice Anderson, a nurse at New Orleans East Hospital.

She passed away after testing positive for COVID-19.

Thea Ducrow, the executive director of the Louisiana State Nurse’s Association, said because of protective equipment shortages, nurses are more at risk than ever. Some are even struggling to get tested for COVID-19.

“It’s really hard because it makes it so real, and everyone knew this was a possibility," Ducrow said."It had happened in other states, but it’s not the same — being one of our own.”

Read more 

Convention Center field hospital gets thousands of beds

Work is underway to add thousands of patient beds at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a Tuesday press conference. 

Edwards said he wants 1,000 more beds at the Convention Center by Sunday. According to our partners at The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, the next 1,000 will be ready April 20 — all for COVID-19 patients who are OK to leave the hospital but are too sick to go home, freeing up valuable beds.

There will also be a new 250-patient facility across the street from the convention center for people who think they may have COVID-19 but whose test results have not come back yet, according to Sarah Babcock with the New Orleans Health Department.

Read more 

Local hospitals can get coronavirus test results in 24 hours

Tulane Medical School on Wednesday rolled out a new test designed by one of its doctors. The results come back in a day because nose swab samples are sent to a lab on Tulane's downtown campus.

This comes on the heels of another onsite test that began Monday. Tests prescribed by doctors can also go to another onsite lab that gives results in a day for both Tulane and UMC hospitals. With both labs, 200 people can get nose swab test results every day. 

Tulane isn't the only place with 24-hour test results. Ochsner also has the capability. And, Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas said, on-site testing is making a difference.

Read more 

Ellis Marsalis, jazz master and musical family patriarch, dies at 85

Ellis Marsalis Jr., the patriarch of a New Orleans musical family, known for his brand of modern jazz as well as for educating generations of musicians as a teacher, has died, according to a family member.  He was 85.

Marsalis is the father of internationally-known jazz musicians Branford (the saxophonist, who led Jay Leno's band on The Tonight Show), Wynton (trumpeter and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York), Delfeayo (trombonist, a record producer and performer) and Jason Marsalis (a drummer).

Marsalis had been hospitalized and was tested for coronavirus, but the result was not available Wednesday, the family member told WWL-TV.

Read more 

Tools 

MORE: Drive-thru coronavirus test locations in Southeast Louisiana

MORE: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

MORE: COVID-19 Timeline: See how fast things have changed in Louisiana

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including severe pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or death. 

Older people and people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or cancer seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

People with recent travel to China, or have come in contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have a greater risk for becoming ill.

What to do if you are sick:

If you recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 transmission, and you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor immediately. Do not go to the doctor without calling first.

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652. 

If you are severely ill and you think you need to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room.

How to Prevent the Spread:

The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) and through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Especially wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.

Treatments for COVID-19:

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. People with coronavirus should be treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Some severe cases require going to the hospital, particularly in the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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