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Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: 1,200 new cases, 54 additional deaths reported Tuesday

As more cases come in, the governor is now keeping schools closed and businesses shuttered until at least May.

NEW ORLEANS — Read Updates for Wednesday, April 1 

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Latest Numbers:

  • 239 deaths (+54)
  • 5,237 total cases (1,212)
  • 1,355 patients hospitalized (+197)
  • 438 in need of ventilators (+53)
  • 60 of 64 parishes reporting cases (+1)
  • 38,967 tests completed (+4,934) 

Key Updates:

  • It's been 22 days since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Louisiana, and 239 people have died, more than 1,350 have been hospitalized and thousands have become sick in that time. 
  • Governor John Bel Edwards is extending the state's Stay At Home order, which originally would have ended in early April, to be in line with the federal guidelines of keeping schools and businesses closed until April 30. 
  • There are now more than 800,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus around the world. In the U.S., there are now more than 3,000 people dead from the disease.  

Read yesterday's live blog here

Biloxi, MS sets 11 p.m. curfew starting next week 

The city of Biloxi, MS is planning to institute a nighttime curfew to keep more people off the streets in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The curfew is set to begin April 2 at 11 p.m. and will run indefinitely. With exceptions for essential workers such as police officers and government officials, the government is prohibiting anybody from being on the streets in Biloxi from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night. 

The mayor specifically cited Biloxi's proximity to New Orleans in the executive order authorizing the curfew, pointing out that more than 25% of Louisiana's cases have come from the Crescent City. 

Hopes of improvement smashed by highest single-day gains in deaths, cases 

After several days of slowing in the coronavirus percent growth across the state, specifically in the New Orleans area, the Louisiana Department of Health has reported the most new deaths and cases in a single day. 

"There is nothing to indicate that we are flattening the curve," Governor John Bel Edwards said Tuesday at his daily press briefing. 

54 new deaths were reported Tuesday, 35 (or 65%) of which came from Orleans and Jefferson parishes. 

There are a staggering 1,212 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, 709 (or 58%) of which came from the same two. The amount of new cases more than doubles the previous single-day high. 

St. John the Baptist Parish, which only has a population of around 47,000, now has the third most deaths in Louisiana -- 12 dead in 104 cases.

St. Charles Parish's total deaths doubled from three to six. 

St. Tammany Parish, which has the third most cases in the area, remains at four deaths. 

Edwards said that people need to adhere better to his mandate to stay at home and he said the numbers released Tuesday show there is more to come.

"We will get through this," he said. "But it won't be quick and it won't be easy."

Cases by parish (SE Louisiana): 

  • Orleans: 1,834 cases, 101 deaths
  • Jefferson: 1,193 cases, 57 deaths
  • St. John: 104 cases, 12 deaths
  • East Baton Rouge: 228 cases, 9 deaths
  • St. Charles: 71 cases, 6 deaths
  • St. Tammany: 220 cases, 4 death
  • St. James: 77 cases, 4 death
  • Lafourche: 74 cases, 2 deaths
  • St. Bernard 71 cases, 2 deaths
  • Plaquemines: 37 cases, 2 deaths
  • Terrebonne: 40 cases, 1 deaths
  • Washington: 28 cases, 1 death 
  • Tangipahoa: 25 cases, 0 deaths

The LDH also reports the first death of someone between the ages of 18-29 from COVID-19 in the state. 

All told, the coronavirus death rate in the U.S. is less than 2% of all confirmed cases. In Louisiana, that rate is closer to 5% in Louisiana. In New Orleans, it's close to 6%.

Those over the age of 70 account for roughly 60% of all the deaths in the state. 

Nearly 40,000 tests have now been completed in Louisiana, almost all of which have been done by commercial labs. 

No more COVID-19 cases in Lambeth House's independent wing, leaders say

Lambeth House senior community, the site of Louisiana's first "coronavirus cluster" that has tragically killed at least 13 residents there, reported no mores cases of the disease in a major section of its facility Tuesday, leaders said. 

According to Greg Beuerman, a spokesperson for the home, there were no known cases of COVID-19 in the building's independent living section as of March 31. There had also been no new tests ordered for suspicion of the disease in the entire community in the past five days. 

It's an encouraging sign for the Uptown New Orleans long-term care facility that has so far been the hardest-hit by the new coronavirus in Louisiana. 

Within the New Orleans population, which already leads the state in total deaths, a staggering one in 10 who have passed from COVID-19 in the city lived at Lambeth House.

Read more 

Drive-thru testing in New Orleans consolidated 

New Orleans has consolidated all city-run drive-thru testing for COVID-19 to one location. 

The COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Mahalia Jackson Theater parking lot closed at 2 p.m. Monday and will not reopen. Instead, all testing will be done at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena parking lot from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily or until the daily cap of 500 tests is reached. 

People seeking to be tested should be 18 years old or older and have a fever with a cough or shortness of breath.

“In the last few days, testing demand has slowed,” NOHSEP Director Collin Arnold said. "It is far too soon to determine if this is due to the beginning of a flattening curve or if people are simply heeding the stay home order.” 

Read more 

Governor Edwards plans to extend closure of schools, prohibition on large gatherings until April 30

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that he expects to extend his proclamation that halts any large gatherings and that closed all public schools through April 30.

Edwards made the announcement during his Monday update of the coronavirus outbreak in the state, saying that he was keeping in line with what President Trump recommended Sunday.

The president said Sunday that he was requesting a shut down on non-essential gatherings and workplaces be extended until April 30.

Edwards said that he knows the new proclamation would put schools in a tough spot, leaving just a few weeks in the academic year – if the order ends at that time.

Read more 

Organizer of 100-person second line arrested

The man accused of organizing a second line that brought more than 100 people together was arrested Monday by police for organizing a public gathering in defiance of the city's stay at home mandate.

NOPD officers arrested Cecil Spencer around 4:15 Monday after issuing a warrant for him Sunday. It's unclear based on booking records what he was charged with.

According to the NOPD, officers responded Saturday to a report of a large gathering at the location. When they arrived they found a band playing and about 100 people at the location.

Read more 

SNAP benefits to increase for more than 200,000 Louisiana households

More than 200,000 households will get more money from their SNAP benefits in March and April to help them get through the coronavirus crisis.

The Louisiana Dept. of Child and Family services announced Monday that every household not receiving the maximum amount of benefits will now receive the full amount. This affects roughly 63% of SNAP recipients. Those already receiving the maximum amount will not see any change in their benefits.

The additional benefits for March will be deposited on Tuesday, March 31. Households will receive their usual benefits for April on the usual date, then receive their additional benefits on April 17.

Read more 

New Orleans faces 'catastrophic' $100 million deficit

Mayor LaToya Cantrell painted a dire picture of the city's financial situation during an interview on WBOK Radio Monday, saying the lack of income from taxes could cut $100 million from the city's operating budget. 

"We are anticipating a budget deficit upwards of $100 million for 2020," she said.

If the city really does stand to lose $100 million this year, coronavirus will have gouged out about 14% out of the city's budget, forcing cuts to programs across the board to keep the lights on at city hall.

Louisiana received about $1.8 billion from the $2.2 trillion economic relief bill passed by Congress Friday, but it's unclear how much of that, if any, is set aside to prop up local governments. 

Read more 

Tulane students collecting PPE, supplies for healthcare workers

Tulane School of Medicine’s student-run community clinics are rallying to support healthcare workers on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis.

Students built a regional donation hub to collect personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.

So far, they’ve collected 2,760 N95s, 6,830 face masks, 2,500 boxes of gloves and 4,941 gowns/coveralls and the donations are continuing to come in.

Read more 

Tools

MORE: Drive-thru COVID-19 testing: What you need to know before you go

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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