BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A day shy of Governor John Bel Edwards’ Phase 1 reopening of the state’s economy, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported several spikes in coronavirus cases.
According to LDH, these increases are due to a surge in new testing. Louisiana has ramped up the number of tests being conducted over the past several weeks.
Dr. Joseph Cantel, assistant health officer at LDH, says right now, Louisiana looks good according to all the important metrics, such as new cases, those who have been hospitalized, and those reporting new symptoms, but the numbers they are seeing right now paint the picture of what was going on in the state two weeks ago.
“If I were to exposed to COVID today, I probably would not develop symptoms for an average four to five days, and then go get tested and then the test takes a couple days to get back, and then it needs to be reported to us,” Cantel said.
He says signs of a “second wave” likely will not be evident until mid to late next week (end of May).
“If we see diagnosed tests going up, but the hospital data stays level, that tells us that we’re probably just doing more testing,” he said, “but if those numbers both go up together, the number of positive cases on tests go up and the number of people in the hospital sick go up, it tells us it really is a spread and we need to consider slowing the reopening.”
With that in mind, doctors are urging residents to keep practicing the measures that have been preached ad nauseam.
“We’re all corona weary,” said Dr. Katherine Williams, president of Louisiana’s State Medical Society. “We’re all tired of being at home. We are tired of the masks, but keep in mind that really preventing going backwards and having to stay at home again is really all in the individuals’ hands. It’s making sure that if you are in public and you are going to be somewhere where you can’t maintain a social distance, wear a mask.”
Dr. Williams says while it may feel like there’s level of protection as the state enters Phase 1 of reopening, there’s still no vaccine, so no one is truly protected.
“The virus is still here,” she said. “We still don’t have a cure and we still don’t have a vaccine, so social distancing is incredibly important.”
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