LDH: 11 new deaths reported; more than 28,000 COVID-19 patients recover

Gov. Edwards COVID-19 update for Monday, May 18th

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Louisiana Department of Health officials have been tracking the number of cases of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, across Louisiana.

As of Tuesday, May 26, LDH reported the following cases of COVID-19 statewide.

· 38,054 positive cases

· 2,596 deaths

· 831 patients in hospitals

· 103 patients on ventilators

· 28,700 recovered

More than 323,000 tests have been conducted by commercial labs and more than 17,000 tests have been completed by state labs.

The Louisiana Department of Health updates its website daily at noon.

Governor John Bel Edwards lifted the state’s stay at home order on Friday, May 15. Louisiana was allowed to move into phase one, but with some restrictions.

Officials hope that Phase 1 will last 21 days until June 5.

Edwards says the bottom line is people in Louisiana have worked hard to slow the spread and the state has met the criteria set forth by the White House to reopen. That means COVID-like illnesses reported to emergency rooms have gone down and the state has seen a decline in cases and hospitalizations.

Governor Edwards says the state’s phase one plan strikes a balance between the public health emergency and getting businesses back open.

In the first phase, essential workers will continue to operate like they already have. Many business though that are considered non-essential will now be allowed to re-open, including hair and nail salons, and gyms and fitness centers with restrictions.

“If you’re trying to understand what that 25 percent means, know that occupancy and capacity is based upon gross square footage and the particular use of your building. But the 25 percent generally speaking is designed to allow six feet between people and 10 feet between tables,” says Edwards. “We’re still gonna encourage you to closely interact with members of your own household.”

The 25 percent capacity includes customers and employees. Also, employees will need to wear masks or face coverings.

Businesses that will remain closed in Phase 1 include tattoo parlors, massage businesses, spas, amusement parks and Children’s Museums along with bars that don’t have a food permit.

The governor continues to stress social distancing and the use of face coverings while out in public.

Edwards says that while the state is currently on the right track, we still have a long way to go.

According to the White House guidelines laid out last month, phase one would allow for large venues like arenas or movie theaters to re-open with strict social distancing protocol.

Gyms would also be allowed to open.

Schools and organized youth activities would remain closed, along with bars, and there will still be no visitors allowed at hospitals or senior living centers.

Edwards says while he knows that re-opening the economy may be taking longer than in others states, it’s something they simply can’t rush.

Unlike the rest of the state, New Orleans businesses have not been allowed to ease up on any restrictions.

Three changes to the stay-at-home order went into effect on May 1:

  • Outdoor sections of restaurants will be allowed to reopen. However, there will be no table service.
  • While malls will remain closed, stores at those malls will be allowed to offer curbside retail.
  • All workers who interact with the public must wear masks.

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