Gov. Edwards, state health officials say Louisiana now in third surge, urge vigilance


BATON ROUGE, La. (KTVE/KARD/KTAL/KMSS) — Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday that Louisiana’s latest COVID-19 data continues a “disturbing trend” over the last few days.

During a media briefing on Thursday afternoon, the governor noted that there are currently 929 individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19, which is an increase of just 43 over the course of 24 hours. This week alone, the state has reported an increase of 253 hospitalizations. Gov. Edwards says that the rate at which hospitalizations are increasing is concerning and is increasing at such a rate that we cannot sustain.

Of those people who are hospitalized, 88 are on mechanical ventilators. That is a decrease of 5 from Wednesday.

Test positivity is up as well. Statewide positivity has risen to 7.5%, up from 5.8% back on November 4, 2020.

Edwards and state health officials who joined in Thursday’s briefing said Louisiana is now in the midst of a third surge. This third surge is nationwide and is much worse than the first two, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Edwards partially attributed the rising numbers of cases and deaths to the failed petition to overturn the Public Health Emergency orders. The petition, that caused confusion throughout the state on whether the orders remained in effect, was deemed unconstitutional by a judge.

Gov. Edwards also asked Louisiana residents during the briefing to take precautions with Thanksgiving celebrations this year.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is a very long tunnel and if we want to live to see it, there are some things we have to do today and continue to do until we can finally put this in the rear view mirror,” Edwards said, warning that vigilance will be necessary as the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is still months away.

During the Thursday briefing, Governor Edwards also offered an update on the state’s ongoing recovery efforts from hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta. He said there are still 2,219 evacuees displaced by the hurricanes who are continuing to be sheltered across the state. These numbers are coming down as more evacuees are transferring from these shelters into more sustainable housing.

810 National Guardsmen are still active in support of emergency operations. While some are still focusing on recovery efforts in relation to Hurricanes Laura and Zeta, the primary focus has shifted to COVID-19 by supporting 22 medical test sites and 8 food bank operations across the state.

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