NEW ORLEANS — 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 -- a 42% increase in a day.
“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 51,086 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.
In an interview with WWL Radio's Newell Normand, Edwards said the "huge spike" in the number of cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana is due to a significant increase in testing.
"The numbers today are going to be jarring," Edwards told Normand.
As of Thursday afternoon, Louisiana reported 310 deaths and 9,150 cases of COVID-19 in the state. Louisiana experienced two straight days of gaining nearly 1,200 new cases on Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 1,600 people have been hospitalized due to the disease, of those 510 require ventilators.
"We're on a trajectory that we don't like," Edward said. "We will to a very large degree determine how bad this gets. We can determine how bad, whether we comply with the social distancing and stay-at-home order."
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
Edwards said the vast majority of the new cases are from tests conducted in previous days and that most of the patients are not in the hospital and are home self-isolating.
"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 report that information has been hard," Edwards said.