Watch: Governor and Mayor hold news conference on coronavirus

Edwards says it is 'grossly irresponsible' to gather and violate stay home orders

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
March 29, 2020 - 3:07 pm

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor LaToya Cantrell called a news conference to update the situation with the fight against coronavirus.

It followed the officials touring the makeshift hospital crews are setting up at the Morial Convention Center.

Governor Edwards said Louisiana continues to have the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country on a per capita basis.

"We are number two on per capita deaths... that is a very disappointing number."

He stressed that we have to get off of this trajectory by staying away from each other.  The governor said that his stay at home order may well need to be extended to control the coronavirus spread.

Edwards made his comments after his tour of the convention center.

"We are going to stand up 1,000 beds between now and a week from now."

The governor said they can add more beds there if they need to.

"It is my hope and my prayer that we will not need them."

He stressed that that will be dependent on everyone's ability to isolate themselves and socially distance.

He also noted that no one should go directly to the convention center.  Patients will be transferred there from hospitals.

Edwards also said that there will be no visitation at the convention center.

A Navy medical strike team is coming to New Orleans to staff the center and help elsewhere. That team could be as large as 180 Naval personnel.  They will also help with another facility across the street from the convention center where patients awaiting test results will be treated.

"We will have those individuals on the ground here shortly," the governor said.

He urged people to do their part to help.

"We still have a great need to flatten the curve... we need everybody to do everything they can."

Edwards said while people have to go to the grocery store, pharmacy and elsewhere... that should be occasional.

He also said those trips should only happen when absolutely needed.

"You don't have to go every day."

The governor added that entire families do not have to go either.

"Minimize social contact."

Edwards also commented on recent events that people took part in despite the mandate to stay apart.

"It is grossly irresponsible for people to flagrantly disregard and violate these social distancing measures we have in place."

Mayor Cantrell echoed that sentiment.  She also thanked the vast majority of people who are following the orders.

She talked about the more and more people who knows personally that have caught coronavirus and those who have died.

"Please adhere to the mandates. Please listen to the warnings and know all of us matter."

Cantrell stressed that if people take it seriously, fewer people will get sick and fewer people will die.

"We can do this, we know that we can get through this."

The mayor reminded the public to continue to isolate themselves.

"Personal responsibility is at the top of this."

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