Coronavirus in Louisiana: Gov. Edwards holds COVID-19 & Tropical Storm briefing for Wednesday, June 3


BATON ROUGE, La. (KARD & KTAL) — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press briefing Wednesday afternoon to give an update on the state’s response to COVID-19. He also spoke about preparing for Cristobal.

Cristobal made landfall Wednesday morning in Mexico, where it is expected to weaken before finding its way back to the Gulf. The National Hurricane Center is expecting Cristobal to become a tropical depression again by Thursday evening but says some re-strengthening is expected on Friday. The storm could move towards the Gulf Coast states as a potentially stronger tropical storm

While the storm is not currently forecast to strengthen into a hurricane, Edwards said “very substantial rainfall” ahead of landfall is going to leave the ground saturated before it arrives, bringing with it the risk of flooding.

The storm is expected to land Sunday in southeast Louisiana. Edwards urged citizens not to focus on the track, but on the cone of uncertainty, urging citizens to be prepared, plan for evacuation and for the sheltering of pets, as well as to listen to local media and weather forecasts, and local elected leaders.

On the state’s response to the coronavirus, Gov. Edwards noted that the overall positivity rate calculated based on the number of positive test results compared to the number of tests performed continues to slowly decline and is now at 10.2 percent. Edwards has previously noted that the World Health Organization and the CDC have a goal of 10 percent positivity or less as an indicator of progress in slowing the spread of the disease.

On Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 387 new cases and 35 new deaths. This brings the state’s total number of cases to 41,133 and the total number of deaths to 2,759.

“There may be a tendency to feel overwhelmed,” Edwards said Wednesday of the convergence of Tropical Storm Cristobal and the coronavirus pandemic. “That is understandable. Please know that there is help and there is hope.”

Edwards said is an online resource for children, families, first respondents, health care professionals, business leaders, and anyone else feeling overwhelmed. Help is also available via a toll-free hotline at 1-877-310-7977 and by texting REACHOUT to 741741.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser also joined Wednesday’s briefing to share details about the reopening of the state’s welcome centers on Friday. Lobby occupancy will be limited to 10 people at a time and Nungesser said they plan to keep cleaning those facilities “many times a day.” They will also be handing out “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul” masks to visitors.

Nungesser also noted that Louisiana state parks had over 20,000 visitors the last few weekends, which he said has not happened since 2008.

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