BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In his daily briefing Tuesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’s likely to issue a new, reworked order to start May 1, rather than just extend the current stay-at-home order. He also talked about what needs to happen before the state can reopen.
“I don’t bet very often,” Edwards said when pressed for more specifics on when that might happen.
“But if you made me bet a dollar, I would bet on May the first, we will be under a different order that we’re under now, that we won’t just continue.”
Edwards said he doesn’t have any further details Tuesday about what comes after the April 30 expiration date of his stay-at-home order, but that there will be more on that in the coming days.
The governor said the state’s current priorities, in order, are slowing the spread of illlness through the stay at home order, increasing testing capacity across Louisiana, and stepping up contact tracing to notify people who have been exposed.
Tuesday’s briefing came after the latest numbers from the Louisiana Department of Health show less than two percent growth (1.35%) in new cases statewide and is the lowest number of daily new cases since March 29, when 225 cases were reported. Edwards called that and the continued decline in the number of people on ventilators a good sign. Hospitalizations remained relatively flat day-over-day, rising by just a four on Tuesday.
However, the number of deaths jumped by another 77 Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,405. That is the largest number of deaths reported in a single day in Louisiana since 129 were reported on April 14 and it more than doubles the 32 deaths reported on Monday.
The governor also called the latest draft of an emergency election plan aimed at expanding voting and mail-in balloting options for Louisiana’s presidential primary for people worried about the risk of exposure to the coronavirus “a reasonable plan under the circumstances.”
The first draft of the plan was rejected by Republican state senators last week who cited concerns that expanding absentee balloting opens up more risk of fraud in the election. The updated plan is set to be presented to House and Senate committees Wednesday morning.
“That draft plan was calibrated to make sure it would enjoy the support of a majority of folks on the House and Senate governmental affairs committees,” Edwards said.
In response to a question submitted through the ‘Ask the Governor’ initiative, Anne from Abita Springs asked for Edwards’s secrets to de-stressing. Edwards said he is nowhere near as stressed as frontline health care workers, but he shared that he likes to de-stress by planting in his garden and taking care of his chickens. He also recommended watching movies but maybe avoiding the scary ones about pandemics.
He noted that those in need of counseling can call the state’s free and confidential hotline at 1-866-310-7977.