Governor John Bel Edwards held a news conference Sunday to issue a Stay at Home Order and update the general public on the COVID- 19 crisis in Louisiana.
The order goes into effect Monday, March 23, at 5 p.m.
“The bottom line is that we are in a race against time when it comes to this coronavirus and its rapid spread in Louisiana,” said Edwards.
As of Sunday, March 22, there are nearly 850 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths in Louisiana.
Louisiana exhibits the fastest growth rate in the world over the past two weeks and has the third-highest number of cases per capita in the nation.
“There is no reason to believe we won’t be like Italy,” said Edwards.
Edwards encourages citizens to begin following the do’s and don'ts of the order now as stated in one of his tweets. Following these will help relieve stress on medical services, slow the spread of the coronavirus and flatten the curve.
“Stay home every minute that you can. Keep yourselves isolated whether or not you have symptoms. Make sure you are not interacting with other people,” Edwards said.
Louisianans can still go to the grocery store, pharmacy, medical appointments, get takeout or food delivered and go outside as long as they stay 6 feet apart from each other.
People should not go to work unless they are providing an essential service, visit people in nursing homes or hospitals or visit family and friends if there is no need. Law enforcement will not be doing checkpoints, but the governor requests that citizens cooperate.
Edwards said all word on closing state and parish borders are rumors. He encourages people to stop spreading and listening to rumors.
The Stay at Home Order expires Monday, April 13, but Edwards said it could be extended depending on how contained coronavirus is in Louisiana.
Louisiana has faced many tragedies in the past; however, Edwards addressed the uniqueness of the novel coronavirus and its national outbreak.
“In this case, this fight is taking place simultaneously all across the country,” said Edwards. “From where are we going to get doctors or nurses? We are all trying to access what happens to be in a national stockpile.”
“We don’t have time. We can’t wait til next week. We can’t figure out whether in two weeks from now because that’s just not the nature of pandemics. We have to act now,” said Edwards.