Louisiana reported 3,492 new COVID-19 Thursday — the most reported in a single day since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a Friday afternoon press conference.There were 692 COVID-19 patients in Louisiana hospitals Friday, Edwards reported, the most since Sept. 11. A total of 6,121 Louisiana residents have died due to COVID-19.
“We have quite literally lost a couple of months worth of improvements in terms of hospitalizations,” Edwards said. He said it “noticeably obvious that individuals were not adhering to the mitigation measures like they were before.”
Edwards previously said that he was worried that cavalier behavior over Halloween would lead to an outbreak. Friday’s press conference was held 13 days after Oct. 31.
The rate of Louisianians testing positive for COVID-19 has also risen: from 4.6 percent on Nov. 1 to 5.2 percent Friday.
Edwards said it’s not a given that Louisiana will have to return to Phase 1 or even Phase 1 of its coronavirus reopening plan. “The people of Louisiana will determine in fact if we have to do that.” The state’s hospital capacity will determine whether or not the state needs to move back to one of the previous phases, Edwards said.
“I am determined we are not going to have people die in Louisiana because we don’t have a suitable hospital bed and medical staff to take care of them,” Edwards said. “And that is possible if we don’t get on top of this.”
Some hospitals in the state are getting close to available ICU bed capacity, said Joseph Kanter, the interim head of Louisiana’s public health office, “but we’re not yet truly threatening (nearing capacity) like we were” in March and April.
The United States reported a record 163,402 new COVID-19 cases across the country on Nov. 12, according to the New York TImes, and continues to trend upwards. States like New Mexico and Oregon have returned to statewide lockdowns. A stay-at-home advisory will go into effect in Chicago Monday.
Edwards said if Louisianans can follow the proven COVID-19 mitigation measures such as washing your hands, staying socially distant and getting your flu shot, then “we’re going to be just fine. If we don’t, we’re going to see these numbers grow.”