BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) — It is still too early to determine how many people in Louisiana have recovered from the novel coronavirus, but those figures should start being released “in the coming days,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Edwards gave that answer to reporters Sunday afternoon, shortly after he announced a “stay at home” order for all of Louisiana beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23.
Louisiana, which has the third-highest rate of cases per capita in the country behind only New York City and Washington state, will be under the “stay at home” order through Sunday, April 12, Edwards said. The move was made to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus, which spiked to 837 cases statewide as of Sunday morning.
Edwards said the decision to issue the “stay at home” order was difficult but necessary following a direct conversation with Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the country’s efforts against the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
“This is a serious situation,” Edwards said. “I’m asking for maximum compliance. We don’t have time. We can’t wait until next week because that’s not the nature of pandemics. We have to act now.”
During the press conference, Edwards said his office does not have yet figures on how many people in the state have recovered from the virus before explaining the process one must go through to be considered “recovered.”
To be recovered, one has to have tested positive for the virus. After that, the person must test negative twice with at least 24 hours between tests. Typically, the first “recovery” test wouldn’t come until 14 days after a person tested positive for the virus. The first confirmed case in Louisiana was reported March 9, or 13 days ago.
“We’ve only been about 13 days since we reported the first case in the state, so we’re not there yet,” Edwards said. “I can tell you we will soon have people who recovered, and we’re obviously thankful for that. And we’re thankful that the vast majority of people who get this virus are going to recover. But we don’t have those figures yet.”
Edwards said people will start to see recovery reports “in the coming days,” though he was unsure when that would be.
“We will start telling you as [soon as] we’re able to determine the exact number of people in Louisiana who have recovered from COVID-19,” he said.
David Gray/The News