LPB JBE conference

Tweet from LPB, Twitter, @lpborg, retweeted by Governor John Bel Edwards, Twitter, @LouisianaGov, on March 23, 2020. 

The number of people affected by coronavirus in Louisiana is growing by the day. Louisiana has the fastest growing number of COVID-19 cases in the world.

According to a University of Louisiana Lafayette study, Louisiana has seen a spike from 100 cases to 800 cases in seven days. The spike of COVID-19 has seen 837 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 20 cases being fatal.

Governor John Bel Edwards and city officials throughout the state are working to flatten the curve of the virus.

Gov. Edwards sat down with officials on Louisiana Public Broadcasting March 23 to discuss the economic, educational and mental and emotional effects of the virus.

"We have to be intensely focused on the task at hand. And that is doing our part to minimize this spread and so that we can get through this and do it in the best fashion possible. I have every expectation that in a matter of weeks or months, we're going to be passed this for the most part at least and resuming life as normal, and then things are going to get back the way we want them to be in Louisiana," Edwards said.

For things to get back to normal, Louisiana has placed orders that took effect at 5 p.m. March 23.

One precaution in the order is that all nonessential personal workers are not to go to work. Gov. Edwards is working hard to offer options for these workers and small-business owners.

Louisiana Executive Director of the Workforce Commission Ava Dejoie discussed ways to get benefits for workers who have been laid off or seen a reduction in their hours. Louisiana residents can apply for benefits on www.laworks.net.

"We had 71,000 people apply for benefits as of Saturday evening at midnight," said Dejoie.

As residents apply for unemployment benefits, parents worry about when their children will be able to go back to school. Gov. Edwards is hopeful that K-12 schools will resume, but will reconvene April 12 to revaluate.

For college students, Gov. Edwards said, "I have every expectation that the TOPS program is going to continue."

The students in high school and college are wondering if their graduations are going to happen. Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Hunter Reed said, "We are going to celebrate you."

With all residents being advised to stay at home, officials say depression and anxiety can set in.

Medical director for the Office of Behavioral Health Dr. Jim Hussey said, “Create a schedule. It’s very important to have structure for adults and for kids.”

Edwards says the sooner people comply with the orders the sooner Louisiana can return to normal.

"The decisions that I have made have not been easy. I’m fighting to save our people and I need every single person in Louisiana to be in this fight with me. We must flatten the curve in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in our state. We’re not there yet. Everyone needs to follow the mitigation measures to minimize social contact and slow the spread," said Edwards.