Louisiana recorded 510 new COVID-19 cases overnight, a 28 percent increase, taking the state to number two in cases per capita in the United States, officials said.
The state now has 2,305 cases. Eighteen new deaths, including a 17-year-old from New Orleans, takes the death toll to 83.
“If we don’t flatten the curve and do it soon, we could be out of ventilators in region 1, the New Orleans area, by as early as April 2,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a press conference on Thursday.
“And we would potentially be out of bed space for individuals by about April 7. There’s simply not enough health care resources to care for all those who will need care if we continue to develop cases at our current pace.”
The dire projections aren’t conjecture or a “flimsy theory” but simply “what’s going to happen,” Edwards warned.
State officials said 676 patients are hospitalized, 239 of which are on ventilators.
New York reported a surge of nearly 6,500 COVID-19 cases earlier Thursday, along with 100 new deaths. New Jersey, which has a similar per capita rate as Louisiana, reported 2,492 new cases, taking the state to 6,876 cases.
The high case count in Louisiana was blamed by some on large gatherings just last week in New Orleans, similar to how groups gathered for parades in New York City last month. Some churches have continued holding gatherings, including one in Baton Rouge that welcomed over 1,800 people on Sunday.
COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus that The Epoch Times refers to as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
The pandemic is affecting nearly the entirety of Louisiana, Edwards said, chiding those who think it isn’t a problem for them.
“For those people who think that this is really just a problem for urban Louisiana, New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, for example, we now have positive cases in 53 of our 64 parishes. So nobody, nobody should look at this situation and think, oh, this doesn’t involve me. This doesn’t involve my town. This doesn’t involve my parish,” he said.
“I am encouraging everyone, no matter who you are or where you live to understand that this coronavirus is in your neighborhood. It is spreading throughout the state of Louisiana. There is no place where it isn’t.”
Louisiana has a stay at home order in effect that requires residents to limit trips to those acquiring essentials like food or medicine, caring for children or the elderly, or going to a job at an essential company or agency.
The epicenter of the virus in the state is New Orleans, a coastal city that has nearly 400,000 residents. With the new cases overnight, the city was up to 997 cases and 46 deaths.
Clusters of cases have been linked to six nursing homes, including the Lambeth House in New Orleans, St. James Place home in Baton Rouge, and the Vista Shores Assisted Living and Memory Care facility in New Orleans.
The new illness causes more severe and deadly cases in older individuals or people with underlying health conditions, though younger people can still get the virus and suffer serious symptoms or death.
COVID-19 spreads primarily from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,” it says on its website.
It’s possible that touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching one’s nose, eyes, or mouth, is a source of infections.
Experts recommend preventative steps including frequently washing hands, avoiding close contact with sick people, and regularly cleaning surfaces and objects.