Officials ‘quite concerned’ with Tuesday’s big case increase


BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – Health officials are “quite concerned” with Tuesday’s surge in new cases of the novel coronavirus, which was the state’s largest single-day increase since early April.

The state added 1,356 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest figures from the Louisiana Department. That’s the most since April 2 (1,417) and the first time the state has reported more than 1,000 new cases in a single day since April 9 (1,253).

This continues a troubling trend over the last several days in Louisiana. Last week, the state had its third largest single-week increase in cases, beaten only by the first two weeks of April during the upswing.

The state total now stands at 51,595 confirmed cases.

“We are quite concerned by today’s COVID-19 numbers and the overall direction we are moving in,” Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health, said in a statement. “What we are seeing appears to be connected to increased movement, a lot of which is probably related to further reopening of the economy and at least some individuals not adhering to recommended precautions.

“We are seeing significant COVID-19 spread related to people congregating in groups with little to no social distancing or masking. The largest increase in cases is among young adults.”

According to the Department of Health, the vast majority (95 percent) of Tuesday’s increase in case growth is tied to community spread rather than congregate settings like nursing homes.

In terms of timeline, the specimen collection date of 97 percent of these cases ranges from June 15 to June 23, meaning the big increase was not tied to a backlog such as past updates.

“We know many Louisianans are doing the right thing – and we thank them for it,” Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, said in a statement. “As the governor said yesterday, this is a deadly, highly contagious virus. It does not take many of us slipping up to spread quickly.

“Just because we are in Phase Two does not mean there is no risk involved when we go out in public.”

On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana would not be entering Phase Three when the current order expires on June 26. Instead, the state will remain in Phase Two for an additional 28 days.

He expects to sign the new order into law by Thursday and said his team would do “a deep data dive” in two weeks to see if additional restrictions are necessary.

David Gray | The News

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