The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Louisiana jumped Thursday by 510, bringing the total to 2,305 in the three weeks since the first case was reported on March 9.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, who ordered this week all non-essential workers in Louisiana to shelter at home to control the spread of COVID-19, in a press conference Thursday afternoon took on a sterner tone with citizens. He warned that if people do not stay home and the virus continues to spread there won't be enough medical workers or ventilators for all the infected.
Of the 676 coronavirus patients in Louisiana hospitals, 239 are on respirators, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported Thursday.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, in a press conference Thursday, warned residents not to get complacent.
"We are still dealing with a virus that is extremely serious," he said, "that has shown it can kill."
No deaths due to coronavirus have been reported in Acadiana. But across the state, as of noon Thursday, 83 people succumbed to the virus, including 46 in Orleans Parish.
Guillory stressed the importance of exercising common sense and staying home in order to flatten the curve, referring to a graph displaying the increase in cases unless the spread of the virus is cut short. The purpose of sheltering at home is to slow the spread of the virus so hospitals aren't flooded at once with patients, many of them needing ventilators to breathe, a resource that already is in short supply across the country.
In eight days, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Lafayette Parish jumped from two on March 18 to 30 on March 26, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Elsewhere in Acadiana, Vermilion Parish on Thursday reported its first case of coronavirus.
St. Landry Parish had an additional case, bringing it to five, while St. Mary Parish remained at five cases. Acadia and Iberia parishes added one case each, bringing them to three total, Evangeline Parish remained at two, St. Martin Parish is at two cases and Jeff Davis at one case.
At the drive-thru cornoavirus screening and testing site at the Cajundome, 70 people were tested for COVID-19 Thursday while 55 did not qualify for testing, Jame Angelle, communications director with Lafayette Consolidated Government, said.
Since the Cajundome site opened March 18, 1,286 people were screened. Of those, 658 were tested for the virus and 628 did not qualify, he said.
Anyone in Acadiana who believes they have symptoms of coronavirus should call 311 if they are in Lafayette Parish. Anyone outside Lafayette Parish should call 534-TEST to speak with a medical professional who will pre-screen them, possibly sending them to the Cajundome, their doctor, urgent care or the emergency room for medical care.